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Vermont power utility partners with blockchain firm LO3 to pilot local energy marketplace

Fri, 22 Nov 2019, 07:26 am UTC

Vermont power utility Green Mountain Power (GMP) has partnered with blockchain energy startup LO3 Energy as parts of its efforts to become a 100 percent renewable provider by 2030.

Through this partnership, the utility aims to launch a commercial local energy marketplace for customers.

In a blog post, LO3 explained that Vermont Green, the app for GMP customers, will connect local businesses with home solar owners with surplus power. Businesses would be able to buy energy attributes through a bidding auction on LO3’s local energy market platform, Pando.

In the trial, the participants will trade a kind of local renewable energy credit (REC), which GMP calls ‘Vermont Green Attributes.’

LO3 Energy founder and CEO Lawrence Orsini explained that the platform pairs the local supply with demand at the grid edge.

This is a landmark moment for energy in the US as it is the first time a community scale local energy market has been developed, regulated and commercially operated,” he said. “Vermonters are among the most environmentally conscious in the country. There’s a huge appetite for local businesses to be 100 percent renewable and at the same time there’s an increasing amount of home solar production.”

GMP’s energy supply is already 90 percent carbon-free and 60 percent renewable. With this new marketplace, it will enable participants to top that up towards a target of 100 percent renewable.

According to Microgrid Knowledge, the pilot is set to launch on Dec. 02 and will be initially rolled out to 200 customers, comprising of 50 businesses and 150 households. The companies expect the program to result in about 500 MWh in trades per year.

“Participating businesses will be able to set desired bids in renewable energy auctions, making the transaction of local renewable energy attributes transparent and allowing flexibility in pricing,” LO3 said. “The platform utilizes innovative technology to automatically match bids with offers and log the transactions. GMP is launching this as a limited pilot program, but could later be made available to residential consumers as well as commercial entities.”

Earlier in July, LO3 secured major investments from Shell Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation. It said at the time that it will use the funding to accelerate the roll-out of less carbon-intensive microgrids and scale its blockchain-based community energy networks worldwide.

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