Ilenna Copely, senior commercial lawyer, continues her Cinderblock fable of the impact of mythical proportions that blockchain technology will have on society.

Cinderella and the Prince’s eight-year old daughter, Charlotte, was an enthusiastic student with an enquiring mind and, regardless of her tender young age, already an outstanding student who desired to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and most likely a career in a role that had not yet been created.

With sweet and savvy youthful enthusiasm, it had been she who had introduced drones and automated, GPS-guided equipment to the family’s agricultural operations, to greatly heralded success.  (Privately, her parents hoped when the time came, she would not need to adopt a nickname of Charlie to achieve recognition of her skills.)

On a bit of a lark one afternoon, the Princess flew her drone to the far reaches of the property and identified a barren area entirely unsuitable for cattle, wine and crops, but superbly located for an advanced technology solar farm.

With serendipitous timing, she discovered on 20 November 2017 it was announced approximately $8 million in funding had been secured for a pilot to use Blockchain-based distributed energy and water systems in the City of Freemantle, Western Australia.  The Australian Federal Government had awarded a grant of $2.57 million, with the balance to be contributed by project partners including Curtin University, Murdoch University, Curtin Institute of Computation, LandCorp, CSIRO’s Data61, CISCO and PowerLedger.

As wise and supportive parents, Cinderella and the Prince had always encouraged their children to speak on areas of interest at mealtimes.  Over breakfast the following morning, Princess Charlotte breathlessly recounted that the project will assess how cities can use Blockchain technology and data analytics to integrate distributed energy and water systems.  

In a remarkable collaboration of multiple organisations, perhaps not seen since the commitment to a cause of the animals and pumpkin on the night of Cinderella’s ball, the entire project would be undertaken by the partners with the support of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Western Power and the CRC for Low Carbon Living.  

Using Blockchain technology and data analytics, it is envisaged the viability of interconnected advanced technology infrastructure will be demonstrated, involving the orchestrated use of:

  • a large solar photovoltaic (PV) plant;
  • rooftop solar PV panels;
  • a precinct-sized battery;
  • an electric vehicle charge station;
  • precinct water treatment.

While noting more fulsome details of the truly watershed initiative may be available at https://web.powerledger.io/mediarelease/, in the same breath, Princess Charlotte described the particular significance of the involvement of PowerLedger.  

Using Blockchain, PowerLedger has developed a series of energy applications that enable:

  • units of energy to be tracked from generation to ultimate use; and
  • the sale of surplus renewable energy generated at residential and commercial properties, to be fed into existing electricity distribution networks or within micro-grids.

What the princess found rather exciting was the transparent, auditable and automated market trading and clearing mechanisms enabled through Blockchain puts into the hands of consumers and the individual relatively small-scale generators (rather than traditional major power generation companies):

  • the control of renewable power distribution;
  • the ability to set the price; and
  • the quantity of energy that is sold.

PowerLedger will develop and maintain all Blockchain applications for the project and purchase the community battery.

So, dear reader, you can see the moral of our tale starting to form. Blockchain will become, and is already well on its way to becoming, an integral part of the infrastructure of our lives.  The hour to midnight is rapidly approaching.