Siemens launches local power trading platform with German utility

German technology group Siemens and utility Allgaeuer Ueberlandwerk (AUEW) launched a trading platform that allows small rooftop solar energy producers to trade power locally with other households and businesses.

The platform in the Bavarian village of Wildpoldsried, called Pebbles, is aimed at keeping locally produced energy in the community, by helping for instance households with solar panels to sell power to neighbouring businesses like bakeries.

Using blockchain technology to link participants via an app, it allows producers to earn money from marketing their excess production, the firms said, while distributing power locally represents a more efficient use of the grid.

Germany’s power industry is moving towards integrating more renewable plants to decarbonise its energy systems. As most generate only intermittently according to weather conditions, their volatility can put stress on transport grids.

“If we want to achieve the energy transition, we have to get small protagonists on board and integrate them,” said the project leader for Siemens, Michael Metzger, in a webcast.

Pebbles will initially run up to November 2021. Siemens delivered the technology, while AUEW operates the platform and will develop a longer-term business model.

Network company AllgaeuNetz is also studying grid-stabilising services that participants can offer to earn money, such as installing batteries in their homes to store captured solar power.

In addition to the technical challenges of the green energy roll-out, thousands of wind and solar producers will no longer receive guaranteed fixed payments for their output from next year as 20-year price guarantees expire, and must look for alternative income.