A community in Switzerland has completed a successful year long trial of a blockchain electricity market, a technology being eyed for community microgrids.
The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) funded project Quartierstrom, the first of its kind in the world, involving 37 households in Walenstadt, Switzerland. For one year, the community traded locally produced power.
The 37 households covered 33% of their electricity demand with solar power produced by the households with installed solar PV, twice as much as before the trial.
Producers of solar power set their preferred minimum price, and consumers set the maximum price they were willing to pay via a portal. A mini computer with a built-in electricity meter and blockchain software, installed at each household, processed the resulting transactions. The mini computers acted as nodes in the blockchain system, and placed bids into an auction for the purchase or sale of solar power every 15 minutes.
Surprising level of engagement
The local utility, Water and Electricity Works Walenstadt (WEW), bought any surplus generation from the participants, and supplied additional power if local generation couldn’t meet the demand.