The Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Co (Kepco) announced a secondblockchainproject six months after having unveiled a collaboration with the Australian company Power Ledger.
An October announcement from Kepco (not to be confused with the South Korean electricity giant of the same name) did not mention Power Ledger and instead quoted Tokyo University, Nihon Unisys and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank as partner.
"We have started an empirical research on the determination of the price of excess electricity generated by photovoltaics and a new system able to operate directly," Kepco said in the statement.
"Through this empirical research, we will gain insights into direct energy transactions using blockchain technology," said Kepco.
The company said that blockchain has the potential to allow financial transactions between prosumer, without involving public services.
Kepco, the second largest Japanese utility after Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), is carrying on the work, including logging of simulated blockchain energy transactions, at Osaka's research facilities, the company said.
A research scheme said the project should last until the end of March next year.
GTM understands that the project will involve the simulated sale of solar energy to a number of potential buyers, with allocation according to an automated trading algorithm and recording of blockchain transaction data at 30-minute intervals.
Kepco said that the University of Tokyo is evaluating the research. Nihon Unisys is building IT systems for the project and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank is providing expertise on blockchain transactions.
In May, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Akamai Technologies announced the development of a blockchain platform capable of processing one million transactions per second and finalizing transactions in less than two seconds.
The platform, which is far ahead of current blockchain capabilities, is scheduled to be available as a global payment network service from fiscal year 2019, said Mitsubishi UFJ.
Kepco's latest announcement comes after a partnership at the start of this year with Power Ledger, the Australian peer-to-peer energy exchange blocker company.
The goal of the partnership is "to provide communities with cheaper energy systems to offset existing energy costs and enable customers to monetize their investment in renewable energy by selling their excess peer-to-peer energy," said Power Ledger in April.
Kepco hopes to use Power Ledger technology to develop virtual power plants using residential solar aggregate and storage, the Australian company said.
Initially, the project included the possibility for up to 10 families of Kepco customers in Osaka to exchange energy with the Power Ledger blockchain platform. Aimie Rigas, Power Ledger's marketing manager, told GTM that the project "is in line with the expected progress".
Kepco's interest in the blockchain reflects the growing enthusiasm for technology among power companies in other parts of Japan and the Far East. Tepco, for example, has invested in at least two blockchain platform developers: Conjoule in July 2017 and Electron at the end of last year.
And in March this year, Japan's third largest electric utility, Chubu Electric Power Company, said it was working with Japanese startup blockchain Nayuta and IT Infoteria systems integrator on a charging system. based on blockchain for electric vehicles.
"With this technology, it will be possible to manage a highly reliable charge management system based on a low introduction cost," said Chubu Electric Power in a press release.
"This would probably create new services, for example by allowing multi-unit homeowners to install charging equipment at reasonable prices."
Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, the blockchain company ixo Foundation is working with the sustainable finance house South Pole and the Gold Standard certification body on the carbon credit system in Thailand, and BYD, DNV GL and VeChain they have a similar initiative in China.
Korea South Korea's Korean Electric Corporation, meanwhile, is testing peel-to-peer blockchain-based trading in Seoul, and elsewhere in the country American startup Swytch is working with the city of Chuncheon on a blockchain reduction platform emissions.
Jesse Morris, chief commercial officer at the Energy Web Foundation, developer of energy blockchain technologies, said the latest Kepco project was one of the many peer-to-peer trading pilots in progress around the world.
"The pilot says it's a very, very high level, as it's a simulation," he said. "It is not clear that this is a demonstration in the field with solar resources and / or smart meters actually connected".