Blockchain – Power Ledger in Puerto Rico?

Blockchain tech provider Power Ledger in Puerto Rico – the Australian company are looking to help the struggling Caribbean island with its ongoing energy woes by implementing their technology into microgrid resources.

Power Ledger in Puerto Rico

Power Ledger in Puerto Rico
Power Ledger in Puerto Rico (source: wikipedia.org)

We posted about Tesla’s input last October when they had a look at a microgrid in Puerto Rico – apart from the initial six, we haven’t seen many more of the Tesla Powerpacks installed – although hundreds of Powerwalls were also sent to help. Since PREPA (Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority) has a $9 billion USD in debt to Wall Street it’s a difficult situation for PR.

According to Bloomberg, Power Ledger have hired Dante Disparte, a Puerto Rican grid resiliency and security expert who is also CEO of advisory firm Risk Cooperative. Disparte spoke of the need to shore up the grid before any further problems – noting that it won’t be long until Puerto Rico sees more wild weather: 

“The next hurricane season is but three weeks away and the grid is not reliable — that is part of the urgency,” said Disparte.

Power Ledger are working with factories and regulators to help companies on the island buy solar panels and battery storage. They’ll then use the blockchain technology to allow companies to trade energy with each other, and to sell supplies to employees or the community. This exchange will be able to take the forms of non-traditional (or, depending on which way you look at it, very traditional) exchange – for example you’ll be able to buy power via cash, cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin or Ethereum) or even labour. 

Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority CEO Walter Higgins said in an interview last week that it will be another couple of months until they finish restoring electricity to the remaining 25,678 customers still in the dark following the storms ~8 months ago. So obviously they need to start looking at measures that will help them next time there’s a problem.

Disparte said this isn’t going to be about “just building back the old grid waiting for the next crisis and the next wave of financial constraints.” They’re trying to completely change the way Puerto Rico can address issues like this in the future and this is an inspiring real-world usage of this technology.

Power Ledger’s investors will be able to make investments in Puerto Rico energy assets later this year using their POWR tokens. If you want to learn more about it please click here to view our article on Power Ledger.

 

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Portable Solar Tech SunSHIFT given $2.1m by ARENA.

The government have announced $2.1m in funding for portable solar tech (‘pop-up solar’), as per an announcement from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) last Thursday. This represents a step in the right direction in terms of replacing ‘dirty’ and expensive diesel generators with (for the most part) clean, portable energy solutions in rural and fringe-of-grid areas. These portable solar generators will be manufactured by a company called SunSHIFT, which has been established by Laing O’Rourke.

SunSHIFT Portable Solar by Laing O’Rourke

The money has been invested in a new technology which combines a PV system with battery storage. The system is also complemented by a diesel/gas generator as a backup energy source. The SunSHIFT portable solar machines will be modular 1MW blocks which could be used, initially, in tandem with conventional energy generation. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht noted in the AFR that this mobile solar tech could be particularly useful for short-medium term projects, where the relatively long payback period of solar energy would not be feasible.

“Projects that only last a handful of years, like construction and mining operations, could benefit from SunSHIFT without having to rely on the typical 20-plus year payback period for solar installations,” Frischknecht said.

The SunSHIFT blocks have also been lauded by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg who was quoted as saying “This innovation means several locations can benefit from a single plant, without any one site needing to commit to a permanent installation.”

Portable Solar SunSHIFT Blocks
Mobile Solar – SunSHIFT Blocks (source: sunshift.com)

SunSHIFT Technical Specifications and more information.

  • Each 1MW block will contain 2400 (435kw) solar panels.
  • Each panels/inverter/transformer/storage unit will occupy ~1.25ha
  • Designed to fit in shipping containers.
  • Cost less than providing diesel power to regional sites (the transportation of diesel fuel can run up to 30% of cost of energy)
  • Targeted at mining companies.
  • Buy-out option available.
  • Click here to read a fact sheet from SunSHIFT about their product.

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