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Centrica brings blockchain to local energy marketplace trial

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Centrica has powered up its local energy marketplace (LEM) trial in Cornwall, adding blockchain capabilities with the help of LO3 Energy.

The energy giant revealed yesterday that the project will use blockchain technology to help transform the way consumers buy and sell energy produced by local generators.

The £19 million LEM trial has been in the works for more than a year, with Centrica signing up 150 local homes and businesses to participate. Solar and storage systems have been offered to participants with the trial set to examine the potential for local, decentralised markets to support local grid flexibility.

But the blockchain trial will now take this a step further and test a range of new, innovative transactive measures, including multi-party peer-to-peer energy trading. It will use LO3 Energy’s Exergy platform which was commercially released last November. It is hoped that the blockchain element of the trial will eventually include 200 homes in the area. 

Centrica invested in LO3 towards the end of 2017, but the company is perhaps best known globally for operating the Brooklyn Microgrid which borrows on many of the key themes Centrica is attempting to recreate in Cornwall.

Mark Hanafin, chief executive at Centrica Business, said: “The proliferation of digital technologies is having a significant impact on the energy industry, allowing us to find new and better ways of delivering energy and services to our customers.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to test blockchain technology beyond the theoretical and put it into practice, developing innovative new solutions that will empower consumers in the UK, North America and beyond to take control of how they engage with energy.”

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