Challenging the traditional structure of the power sector, peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading is taking off in several areas of the world. Shanghai based startup Energo Labs* is bringing this revolution to Asia, with a focus on social impact for non-grid-connected areas, to create a decentralized autonomous energy (DAE) ecosystem.
Keeping in mind constraints of the regular grid, Energo’s solution requires a microgrid that can better integrate renewable technology. P2P energy trading allows households with solar PV panels to first consume the energy they produce and then sell the excess energy to their neighbors or store it in the microgrid storage system for future use. There can be multiple producers to meet the demand of all the consumers, meaning anyone with property and a solar panel can make money and help the community meet its energy demands in a clean and renewable way.
Transactions happen using tokens on a blockchain platform, the same technology behind the Bitcoin, and electricity supply is switched from the microgrid to the public grid when a consumer does not have enough tokens or if the electricity stored in the microgrid is not enough to meet total demand.
This model of a decentralized energy exchange mechanism focuses on local production of energy using emission-free resources, empowering consumers to choose where their energy comes from as well as turn them into active “prosumers” who can make money from the solar energy their PV panel produces.
“Our solution is based on solving today’s ‘Energy Trilemma’, where governments have to balance energy security, environmental sustainability, and energy equity at the same time,” explains Energo’s CEO Ray Qu.
P2P startups such as Energo Labs, along with others like LO3 Energy in the US and Power Ledger in Australia, want to break the monopoly in the energy market to further push the decentralization of energy. Government and utility regulations are the biggest challenge for such companies focusing on clean generation and distribution.
Energo has extended its global approach to cover developed countries, which are more likely to have the infrastructure and necessities required to implement such a plan, as well as developing countries where the social impact could be greater. “Along with rural electrification, we want our solution to possibly provide a new source of income that can increase education level, health care, and the general standard of living for several areas in Asia,” said COO KK Yang.
The startup is now collaborating with top energy companies for their pilot project in China, and will soon be launching projects in the Southeast Asia region.
Qu added, “A community can be as broad as you define it. We want to provide a solution that benefits communities in all senses, from providing electricity to people living in the same area with weak connection to the public grid to helping an entire country meet the INDC goals it pledged to at COP21 in Paris in 2015.”
*This post has been sponsored by Energo Lab; images from Energo Labs
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