This series highlights the key insights and lessons from our Digital Leadership series of podcasts.We spotlight the important takeaways from our interviews in an accessible format. The following insights come from David Martin, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Power Ledger. Stay tuned for the full podcast interview with David Martin next week, in the meantime, take a look at our library of podcasts.
What was the big problem you were trying to address in founding Power Ledger?
We are trying to limit the disruption from the spread of distributed energy sources – things like solar PV, wind, batteries etc. –to community scale energy resources that if not managed can really reduce the economic efficiency of networks and reduce the ability of consumers to play in that space. As more consumers come into this space there is the risk that the economics come undone, and it is very important to ensure that we can manage this very important social asset.
What are the advantages to being located in Australia?
Western Australia is a bit of a canary in a coal mine when it comes to renewables. In Perth, 1 in 4 households have some form of rooftop solar and in other parts of the country it’s 1 in 3. So we are starting to see the impact of unmanaged penetration of distributed renewable energy. We are starting to see the load defection and the rising contribution of network costs to the overall cost of distributed energy so we’ve got a bit of a head’s up over the rest of the world.
What is the economic challenge with renewables on a network?
What we did with Power Ledger is that if we didn’t find an economic reason to tell the consumer to stay connected to the grid and monetize their excess energy then the next best thing was to tell them to install storage and disappear from the grid. As storage becomes cheaper and more affordable more consumers are looking to get off the grid. What this doesn’t factor is that the diversity that you get, the ability to optimize the diversity of energy demand by being connected to the network. This means we can share the benefit of those distributed renewables, we don’t have to install as much capacity and we can reduce the cost and carbon impact if we can keep those assets connected to the grid. Power Ledger as a trading platform is designed to incentivize consumers to monetize their investments in renewables, but also to incentivize them to stay connected to the grid.
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