Indian Tech Giant and Australian Startup to Test Energy Blockchain in Microgrid-as-a-Service (MaaS)

Oct. 9, 2017
An Indian tech firm giant and an Australian startup this week are testing a new microgrid-as-a-service (Maas) platform that uses energy blockchain.

With an eye toward India’s growing energy market, a major Indian tech firm and an Australian startup are testing a new microgrid-as-a-service (MaaS) platform this week that uses energy blockchain.

Mumbai, India IT services multinational Tech Mahindra and Australia’s PowerLedger are teaming on the proof-of-concept project at Tech Mahindra’s main campus in Mumbai. Tech Mahindra plans to announce the results at its Mission Innovation conference, tentatively scheduled to take place in Hyderabad Dec. 14-15.

Tech Mahindra is attempting to incorporate secure, distributed, peer-to-peer energy trading, transaction processing and administration into its MaaS platform. The company hopes to market the platform throughout India’s cities and urban areas, as well as to its core client base and others.

“This disruptive technology will provide a model for energy service provision for thousands of communities across India, and this will also benefit markets like the US, Canada and UK for modernization of grids through microgrids,” said Atul Kunwar, Tech Mahindra president and chief technology office

The MaaS platform will incorporate a variety of generation assets of varying sizes and levelized cost of energy (LCOE), Tech Mahindra said an email interview.

On-site solar PV will be the main source of power generation for the MaaS/energy blockchain test, but the platform will also incorporate diesel generation, wind and some waste-to-energy generation capacity. The exact mix is yet to be determined, but in total, power generation is to be about 5 MW.

Outside of generation capacity, Tech Mahindra is looking to real-time, battery-based energy storage and demand response capabilities to optimize the microgrid. Generation and consumption data will be gathered from various smart metering points on the Tech Mahindra campus.

PowerLedger’s blockchain-based, peer-to-peer energy transaction processing and distributed ledger will complete the platform, providing a financial dispatch model and support for an economically optimized generation mix.

Energy transactions will take place among six generators and five consumption points. The Power Ledger system will equitably allocate energy from the lowest-cost source of supply to satisfy consumer demand. More expensive generation will be traded as demand exceeds the capacity of low-cost, non- dispatchable generation, according to Tech Mahindra

Microgrid energy blockchain symbiosis
Low-cost, secure, and having the capacity to manage a complex network of energy generation, storage, local distribution and consumption nodes makes PowerLedger’s blockchain peer-to-peer, distributed energy trading and transaction platform well-suited to the task,Tech Mahindra told Microgrid Knowledge.

Because supply is pre-paid, it is low-risk. And because it incorporates multiple points of generation, the system encourages community members to invest in distributed energy resources since to monetize excess generation, according to the company.

Evaluating  microgrid-as-a-service

Tech Mahindra and Power Ledger will employ a variety of metrics to assess the performance and success of the MaaS test platform and guide future development. These encompass:

  • LCOE in comparison to grid-supplied energy
  • Cost of the retail trading function as compared to the traditional retail model
  • Security of data
  • Robustness of systems
  • Accuracy of data
  • Consumer value
  • Financial viability of on-site generation
  • Management flexibility
  • Cash-flow management

“There are two aspects of this proof of concept; the first is to test the Power Ledger technology for it’s robustness, security and integration with the MaaS platform,” said a Tech Mahindra spokesperson. “The second objective is to analyse the value in peer-to-peer trading and define the transaction frequency and benefit to the producers and consumers of the electricity.”

Tech Mahindra also is interested in creating a real-time simulation for it’s employees working in its campuses to test peer-to-peer trading by providing an ability to turn off energy usage remotely and by participating in an energy market on a real-time basis, the spokeswoman said.

In terms of organizational resources, PowerLedger is providing developer and project management services to integrate Tech Mahindra’s generation and consumption data into the PowerLedger Platform. In addition, PowerLedger is participating in promotions, marketing and business development for the MaaS  proof-of-concept trial.

For its part, Tech Mahindra is contributing smart meters, distributed energy resources, control technologies and its microgrid platform software for integration with the PowerLedger platform. Tech Mahindra is also investing in developing a mobile application for its employees to facilitate their participation in a simulated real-time, peer-to-peer distributed energy trading market.

A US$4.4 billion multinational information technology services corporation, Tech Mahindra employs more than 117,600 professionals serving 840 clients, primarily telecommunications companies, in 90 countries. Management has distilled Tech Mahindra’s guiding and informing strategy in the acronym DAVID: Digitalization, Automation, Verticalization and Disruption.

PowerLedger has emerged as an early leader in the fast moving worldwide market for blockchain energy trading and the so-called “Energy Internet of Things.” The company on Oct. 4 completed the second and final round of the first cryptocurrency token initial coin offering (ICO), raising $34 million in a mix of digital crypto-currencies and conventional fiat currencies, such as the Australian dollar, from as many as 15,000 ICO subscribers.

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Andrew Burger

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