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.

 

Tesla Battery Power in Victoria – Powerpack

Tesla Battery Power in Victoria will be installed in regional Victoria this year, in time for the 2018/19 summer. The Turnbull government has committed up to $25m to Victoria’s first foray into large-scale, grid-connected batteries.

Tesla Battery Power in Victoria

Tesla Battery Power in Victoria - Tesla Powerpack
Tesla Battery Power in Victoria – Tesla Powerpack (source: tesla.com)

The Age is reporting that ARENA (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency) and the Turnbull government will contribute $25m to the $50m project, which will be located in Western Victoria. The area has been identified as having a ‘vulnerable’ energy transmission network and will benefit immensely from the project. The other $25m of funding will come from a consoria led by Spotless Sustainability Services, according to PV Tech.

The batteries will, similar to the South Australia Tesla battery plant, use Tesla’s lithium ion Powerpacks, but in slightly different configurations and with separate manufacturers. 

There will be two separate batteries – 

  1. A 25MW/50MWh Powerpack solar battery in Kerrang, supplied by Tesla, owned by Edify Energy and Wirsol, and connected to the Gannawarra solar farm in north-west Victoria.
  2. A 30MW/30MWh grid-connected Powerpack in Ballarat, supplied by global energy storage giant Fluence (a conglomeration of Siemens and AES), owned by AusNet and and built at a nearby station in Warrenheip. 

Both batteries will be operated by EnergyAustralia and a PPA (power purchase agreement) has already been signed. 

“ARENA is excited to be demonstrating the capabilities that these new batteries will provide in securing reliable electricity for western Victoria and to facilitate the Victoria’s transition to renewable energy,” ARENA’s Ivor Frischknecht said in a statement.

Victoria has a RET (renewable energy target) of 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025. 

Minister Josh Frydenberg said: “Storage has been the missing piece of the energy jigsaw for a long time. Whether it’s Snowy 2.0 in New South Wales and Victoria, the Battery of the Nation projects in Tasmania or various initiatives, including a 30MW battery, in South Australia, we are expanding, exploring and funding energy storage right across the country.”

Back in January we wrote about the Bulgana Green Power Hub – a 194MW wind farm and a 20MW / 35MWh battery storage facility which will be built by French renewable energy developer Neoen separately to the Gannawarra solar farm Tesla battery or the Ballarat terminal station Powerpack. So there’s plenty on the horizon for energy storage in Victoria – it’ll be great to see how this affects some of the weaker parts of regional Victoria as it’s already had a fantastic effect in South Australia.