State-enterprise electricity agency to test solar sharing

Thailand is piloting a peer-to-peer solar-power-trading project among homes and businesses with rooftop solar panels, building on the experience of a Bangkok community that trades renewable energy using blockchain.

Viboon Rerksirathai, Governor of the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), said the pilot project is taking place in a “sandbox” overseen by the Energy Regulatory Commission. Similar to a sandbox run by the Bank of Thailand to test new financial technologies in a limited, controlled environment, the Commission’s sandbox allows for testing of new energy technologies.

“This should be a turning point for EGAT in working with disruptive technologies,” the Governor said. “EGAT needs to study the feasibility and design a business model for a further expansion in the long run.”

EGAT’s foray into peer-to-peer power trading follows an initiative taken by a Bangkok neighborhood in late 2018 in which residents began trading rooftop solar power. BCPG, a Thai renewable energy company, installed the solar panels and meters, while Power Ledger, an Australian firm, partnered to provide the blockchain trading technology.

Reuters reported at the time that the initiative is “among the world’s largest peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platforms using blockchain.” The neighborhood system generates 635 kilowatts of power. Among those trading solar power are a shopping mall, a dental hospital, a school, and an apartment complex.

The World Energy Council has predicted that decentralized energy projects account for about 25 percent of the global market in 2025, up from just 5 percent today.

Thai laws currently limit peer-to-peer power trading. But Minister of Energy Sontirat Sontijirawong said the government plans to waive the limitations in because the government has received many requests from companies and state agencies to test the “prosumer “business.

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