Power Ledger is a blockchain platform and a token (PWR) with the mission to decentralize and democratize global power supply. This is to be done by enabling peer-to-peer energy trading and eliminating middlemen such as large power utilities.
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What Is Power Ledger?
The team behind the Power Ledger platform sees blockchain technology as a key tool for reforming the existing systems of energy creation and distribution. Their arguably novel concept involves creating an ecosystem in which the local communities would be empowered (pun intended) to distribute and sell their excess electricity without the interference from the existing power players in this market. The developers of the platform have identified several issues with the current energy market they hope to see fixed with the help of Power Ledger:
- Energy supply is in need of decentralization and blockchain can help with it. Power Ledger utilizes blockchain to create a system in which the customers would be able to choose their own preferred source of electricity. This should reduce their exposure to rising grid supply costs and strengthen their impact on energy network management.
- Energy market continues to implement age-old distribution and management mechanisms unsuitable for the contemporary demands. Power Ledger wants to use blockchain to create an electricity marketplace marked by transparency, auditability and automation, while seeking to make trading easier for both the energy producers and their consumers.
- Energy prices are rising and this can endanger the whole of economy. Elimination of intermediaries and promotion of individual energy production with Power Ledger should give both the consumers and entire communities easier access to electricity which is cheaper, greener, more reliable and more in line with the demands for the renewable energy sources.
- Co-creation of energy and self-supply should be given more spotlight, as they are supposed to reduce the pressure on citizens coming from the centralized power authorities. Power Ledger recognizes that the rise of blockchain technology goes in parallel with the rise of distributed energy resources (DER), particularly in the field of solar energy. This platform aims to become a building block of the energy distribution system which favors easier monetization of investments in DER systems and more efficient utilization of excess energy.
How Is Grid Parity Used by the Power Ledger?
The Power Ledger has devised an ecosystem focused on enabling P2P transactions with renewable sources of energy. To make this possible, it uses blockchain to keep track of all the information related to the generation of electricity as well as its utilization. The data on these activities are stored on the Power Ledger platform. Transactions taking place on the platform will have their rates set in advance, both for energy generation and consumption.
This approach should become a reality not only through the Power Ledger alone, since the creation of energy microgrids became feasible thanks to the fact that an increasing number of countries across the globe now faces the phenomenon of “grid parity”. In short, this boils down to having the situation when the prices of electricity generated by the alternative energy sources (such as individually produced solar energy) and those imposed by the centralized power suppliers become more or less equalized.
In practice, this means that Power Ledger’s blockchain will provide the platform and the interface for energy trading taking place within microgrids. One of the examples is its partnership with Thai energy company BCPG which should enable building managers of several local facilities to trade their solar panel generated energy (up to 2MW was made available for trade) via a banking interface. As the transaction layer in the system, the Power Ledger platform enabled easier trading, invoicing and monitoring of the tradable excess energy created by the facilities involved in the project, with the hope to drive their energy costs down and utilize energy more efficiently.
How Does the Power Ledger Ecosystem Work?
The Power Ledger platform operates two blockchains which perform different functions:
- The Ethereum blockchain. This blockchain functions as the public one and serves as an external layer of the network. Its main purpose is to provide the technological backing for the use of the Power Ledger (POWR) tokens which can be bought, sold and traded on this globally available Ethereum-powered layer.
- The EcoChain. If the Ethereum blockchain is an external layer of the Power Ledger, the EcoChain is clearly its internal counterpart. Access to it is gained by acquiring and holding the network’s POWR tokens. This private consortium blockchain is designed, developed and run by the Power Ledger team and it features the second token of the platform: Sparkz token. These tokens are designed to provide a direct link with the Power Ledger interface which connects various facilities which produce electricity, be those individual homes or private businesses. Unlike the Ethereum blockchain on this network which largely performs the same function across the globe, the EcoChain can be easily customized to the energy production conditions in a specific local area. This includes modifying the chain to work in line with varied local regulations and the existing levels of supply in an area connected to a particular grid.
What Is POWR Token?
The Power Ledger’s ecosystem operates based on the interactions between its layers and two tokens. This is made possible with the use of Ethereum-based smart contracts. The transactive layer of the platform establishes communication with the power grid via devices called smart meters. These are electronic systems which keep track of the level of electricity consumption and send the information to energy producers so that they can issue bills based on these data. The power generators are in charge of maintaining both power supply and distribution infrastructure. These producers, alongside any entity (property managers, retailers) running the Power Ledger application are known as “application hosts”.
Access to the platform for both the hosts and users is secured by holding a predetermined amount of POWR tokens. These utility tokens act as the fuel of the Power Ledger platform and perform several roles on it:
- Facilitating access in order to use the platform. Application hosts are required to escrow POWR tokens to get access to the platform. If the application host does not have a sufficient amount of tokens, it will be denied the right to make transactions on the network. Application hosts will need more POWR tokens over time to scale with an increased number of transactions that comes with the development of their consumer base. The more POWR tokens are escrowed, the stronger the demand for the POWR tokens will be. In turn, the more application hosts are in the network, the more valuable the POWR tokens will become.
- They are used to provide loyalty rewards to the participants in the network. All producers of energy and consumers which purchase renewable energy receive POWR tokens for using the Power Ledger platform as part of the Green Energy Loyalty Rewards program. The program is funded by charging fees for P2P transactions taking place on the platform.
- They foster relationships between renewable energy charities and provide access to Asset Germination Events. These events deal with crowd-funded assets which use renewable energy and implement the Power Ledger blockchain. They can be both solar and wind farms as well as batteries.
- POWR tokens serve as the bond backing on the Power ledger platform. Consumers are protected by Smart Bond technology. Smart Bonds function as automated contract bonds which use smart contract technology. They feature a built-in code which enforces compliance among the contractual bond parties.
- POWR tokens can be converted into Sparkz tokens, which are, in turn, made redeemable through fiat currencies used in the energy trading markets or on other similar platforms.
As of January 2019, the Power Ledger cryptocurrency had the market cap of over USD 42 million, down from its current historic high of USD 641 million in January 2018. Currently, 395,889,007 POWR tokens are in circulation. The tokens are available for trading on cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bittrex and Binance.
What Are Sparkz Tokens on the Power Ledger Network?
Sparkz tokens function as electricity credits pegged to local fiat which are used to pay for the services provided by the application hosts. The utility POWR tokens one holds are used as a surety for the Sparkz tokens.
Sparkz tokens are purchased and redeemed by using fiat currencies which are supported on the specific trading platform. Application hosts introduce their consumers to the trading platform with the help of Sparkz in the following manner:
- Consumers buy Sparkz for their money.
- After this, Sparkz tokens can be traded for the produced energy, i.e. they function as credits which the customers use to buy and sell energy.
Creation of Sparkz tokens is virtually unlimited, as they are created whenever they are needed, put to use and destroyed after they are redeemed. In addition to the local fiat, their prices are also linked with the energy costs in a particular area which is supposed to help them maintain a stable exchange rate. The ties between Sparkz and local currencies are supposed to bring additional stability to the energy trading ecosystems which use Power Ledger. In order to allow for more flexible use of the Sparkz token and easier pricing, Power Ledger needs to provide support for the use of various fiat currencies which is done by enabling access to individual chains dedicated to each of them.
Power Ledger Products
Power Ledger platform is implemented with three main products running this solution. These are xGrid, uGrid, and Power Port.
- xGrid is the main product featured on the Power Ledger platform. It allows the energy producers which generate excess power to sell their energy to the potential customers. The trading is done on a regulated electricity grid, with the platform’s blockchain mechanism being in charge of managing transaction settlements in an instant, transparent and low-cost manner. With xGrid, the energy producers have an opportunity to extract more value from their investments in renewable energy, while the customers should be offered the benefit of paying lower power bills. By its very design, xGrid aims to win over several key user categories in the Power Ledger ecosystem, particularly households and business premises connected to the power grid, producers of renewable energy such as those using solar panels, and electricity sellers who want to offer their customers a cleaner and cheaper product.
- uGrid is another Power Ledger product which, in this version, focuses on more affordable electricity metering in real time, the collection of big data, management of microgrids and processing of micro-transactions. The electricity trading is done with the help of regulated electricity master meter, which allows for greater transparency when it comes to transactions and utilization of energy. Based on this, uGrid is aimed at the customer communities connected via networked grids such as shopping malls, parks, apartment complexes and similar units which want to track their collective energy use in a highly precise manner and manage their networks better via the use of big data.
- Power Port is specifically designed for electric vehicles and their charging stations. Similarly to other products in the Power Ledger line, Power Port is supposed to bring more affordable and secure metering, transparent settlement mechanisms, low-cost payment, implementation of user IDs and integration with existing systems such as Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP).
- Finally, Power Ledger series of products also includes C6 and C6+ systems for the reporting and management of carbon credits and related certificates with the help of blockchain technology.
Power Ledger Team and Project History
The technical and planning team behind the Power Ledger is led by Dr. Jemma Green, David Martin and John Bulich as its co-founders and Dr. Bill Tai, a renowned venture capitalist n the role of the main advisor. The team is dominated by professionals with backgrounds in the field of blockchain technology, finances and engineering.
Launched in May 2016, Power Ledger project featured one of the more successful initial coin offerings (taking place in 2017) among startups in the history of Australia. The first trial of the proposed network-based solution took place in 2016 in Australia, only to include New Zealand, Thailand and other countries soon afterward. In 2019, the project plans to bring its technology to Europe as well.
Potential Competitors of Power Ledger
Power Ledger project has to contend with several energy-focused projects which plan to use blockchain and other decentralized technologies as their technical backbone. These projects include Restart Energy Democracy, a renowned European manufacturer of solar cells which plans to allow energy producers to sell electricity directly to their customers via its platform. SunContract (SNC) is yet another platform dedicated to decentralized trading with electricity with the help of cutting edge technologies. Finally, Electrify Asia (ELEC) is the energy marketplace focused on the Asian market which aims to enable direct purchases of energy from private producers.