Image credit: Power Ledger
The Australian federal government is providing AU$2.57
million in funding for a trial of blockchain-powered distributed energy and
water system in the city of Fremantle in Western Australia (WA) This is part of
the inaugural Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
Last week, the Australian Government announced
52 successful projects under Round One of the Program. The government will award a total of AU$28.5 million to
these projects. All projects are being co-funded by local governments,
industry, research organisations and the private sector, and are delivering
almost $40 million in partner co-investment, or about $1.40 for every
Australian Government dollar invested.
This is the second biggest project on the list, after ‘Switching
on Darwin’. Co-funding of AU$5.68 million will be provided by project
partners including Curtin University, Murdoch University, Curtin Institute of
CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) /Data61,
CISCO and Power Ledger, adding up to
a total project value of AU$8.26 million. The project will also be supported by
the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Western Power, and the CRC for
Low Carbon Living.
Brad Pettitt, Mayor
of the City of Fremantle, said, “We are delighted to host this project in the
City of Fremantle. This collaboration between existing infrastructure,
renewable energy and innovative technology fits with our One Planet zero carbon
energy target and will help us to secure the ongoing sustainability of
essential services for communities that live here.”
The project will happen over two years and it will commence
within the next two months. A press
release from Power Ledger explains that the project, which involves
academic, infrastructure and technology partners, will assess how cities can
use blockchain technology and data analytics to integrate distributed energy
and water systems.
A large solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, rooftop solar PV
panels, a precinct sized battery, an electric vehicle charge station and
precinct water treatment and capture systems will be connected using blockchain
technology and data analytics. The idea is to demonstrate the interconnected
infrastructure of future smart cities.
Curtin University will be the project lead, with responsibility
for technical and administrative project management duties. The University also
plans to develop a smart metering,
battery storage and blockchain trading system to allow energy and water
efficiencies between critical dispersed infrastructures that would otherwise require
physical co-location. Curtin University has also contributed the electric vehicle
and fast charger.
Murdoch University will provide research support on
alternative district water supply and storage schemes that will be used to
provide water, capacity and ancillary services to each other and the grid.
Academic Chair of Environmental Engineering, said, “This news is very exciting
as we now have the opportunity to develop an entirely new precinct scale urban
water system in Fremantle that will harmonise with the innovative Power Ledger
Platform. I am thrilled with the prospect of commencing research, modelling and
designing the novel water distribution infrastructure upgrades at Knutsford,
through rainwater capture and wastewater recycling, with the City of Fremantle
and the whole team.”
Curtin Institute for Computation and Data61 will provide the
data analytics required to generate insights from these projects, while CISCO will support
the project as part of its strategic partnership with Curtin University called
Innovation Central Perth. CSIRO and Data61 will assist in the delivery of this
project, by conducting megatrend analysis, risk analysis, statistical
forecasting and systems modelling.
Glenn Platt, the
Research Director of Grids & Energy Efficiency Systems, highlighted CSIRO’s
experience in collaborating with
industry and government to build platforms, which he said will ensure that the
data generated by the project will be utilised by the community, project
partners and municipal government.
The Western Australian Government's land and development
agency, Landcorp, is taking part in the project to monitor success in order to
explore alternative water and energy systems that are connected to smart
technology. Landcorp owns the Knutsford site, where the integrated and
resilient energy and water systems
Dean Mudford, Chief
Operations Officer of Landcorp, said: “We are excited to be part of a shared
commitment to explore alternative water and energy systems which are
innovative, resource efficient and connected to smart technology.”
Power Ledger will provide the transactional layer for the
renewable assets, as well as the ownership model for the community owned
battery. Power Ledger has developed blockchain
energy applications, such as a P2P energy trading application that allows businesses,
such as utilities, to host trading on the Platform. Their technology enables
the sale of surplus renewable energy generated at residential and commercial
developments (including multi-unit/multi-tenanted) connected to existing
electricity distribution networks, or within micro-grids, in a transparent,
auditable and automated manner.