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Will blockchain fuel Fremantle’s energy supply?

Funding from Australian government comes as part of its inaugural Smart Cities and Suburbs Programme

Rooftop solar panels will be part of the mix of distributed energy sources used
Rooftop solar panels will be part of the mix of distributed energy sources used

Australian city Fremantle is trialling use of blockchain-powered distributed energy and water systems.


The project, which involves academic, infrastructure and technology partners, will assess how cities can use blockchain technology and data analytics to integrate distributed energy and water systems.


Funding for the cutting-edge project is being provided by the Australian government ($2.57m) while project partners including Curtin University, Murdoch University, Curtin Institute of Computation, LandCorp, CSIRO/Data61, Cisco and Power Ledger will commit $5.68m.


The award comes as part of the government’s inaugural Smart Cities and Suburbs Programme which aims to solve practical problems. The project will also be supported by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Western Power, and the CRC for Low Carbon Living.


“We are delighted to host this project in the City of Fremantle,” said Brad Pettitt, mayor of the City of Fremantle. “This collaboration between existing infrastructure, renewable energy and innovative technology fits with our One Planet zero carbon energy target and will help us to secure the ongoing sustainability of essential services for communities that live here.”


The trial will involve highly resilient, low-carbon and low-cost systems installed and connected using blockchain technology. A large solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, rooftop solar PV panels, a precinct sized battery, an electric vehicle charge station and precinct water treatment and capture systems will be orchestrated using blockchain technology and data analytics, and demonstrate the interconnected infrastructure of future smart cities.


Onsite energy generation at water treatment systems will also circumvent the need for costly distribution overhauls, as they are due for a $3m upgrade to increase capacity. The project will provide the community with financial and service sustainability while still engaging the private sector.


Power Ledger will provide the transactional layer for the renewable assets as well as the ownership model for the community-owned battery.


Cisco will be supporting the project as part of its strategic partnership with Curtin University called Innovation Central Perth.


CSIRO and Data61 have the capabilities required to assist in the delivery of this project, including megatrend analysis, risk analysis, statistical forecasting and systems modelling.


“We are excited to be part of a shared commitment to explore alternative water and energy systems which are innovative, resource efficient and connected to smart technology,” added Dean Mudford, chief operations officer of LandCorp.


“The potential for this level of innovation to be embedded within the next stage of our Knutsford development supports our broader corporate objective to lead by doing. Funding which allows research to explore alternative water and energy systems has the potential to significantly reduce infrastructure development costs for decades to come.”


The project is expected to last two years and will commence within the next two months.


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