Japan’s Largest Utility Company Pursues Another Blockchain Project for Solar Trading

Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Co., which operates in Japan’s second-largest industrial region, incorporating the cities of Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka, has announced another blockchain project just six months after unveiling a collaboration with Australian company Power ledger, Greentech Media reported on November 1, 2018.

Utility Provider in Japan Exploring Blockchain for Solar Trading

Kepco, Japan’s second-largest electric utility after Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), is reportedly launching another blockchain project this year in a bid to find a platform for trading solar energy.

According to a November 1 report from Greentech Media, the announcement from Kepco came on October 15, when the company released a report outlining the research that would go into the project.

In the report, Kepco did not mention Power Ledger, the company it previously partnered with for a blockchain project, and instead cited the University of Tokyo, Nihon Unisys and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank as partners.

“We have started empirical research on the determination of the price of surplus electricity generated by photovoltaic power, and a new system capable of direct trading,” Kepco said in the release. “Through this empirical research, we will acquire knowledge on direct power transactions using blockchain technology.”

Blockchain Could Remove Utilities From Prosumer Transactions

According to the project outline, it is due to last through to the end of March 2018, with all of the research being carried out by Kepco. The work will include logging simulated energy transactions on the blockchain, at research facilities in Osaka, the company said.

The project will reportedly involve the simulated sale of solar energy to a range of potential buyers, with allocation being carried out according to an automated trading algorithm. Speaking of the project, Kepco said that blockchain, in general, has the potential to enable financial transactions between prosumers, without involving utilities.

The University of Tokyo would be evaluating the research, Nihon Unisys will build the IT systems, while Mitsubishi UFJ Bank will be providing their expertise in blockchain transactions.

While it’s still unknown what payment methods will be used if the project is launched, Kepco’s partnership with Mitsubishi UFJ Bank could mean that the company will be using its transaction processing platform.

Back in May 2018, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Akamai Technologies announced the development of a blockchain platform capable of processing a million transactions per second and finalizing transactions in less than two seconds.

The bank’s platform is believed to be well ahead of current blockchain abilities is scheduled to s scheduled to be available as a global payment network service from the 2019 fiscal year, and could be done in time to be implemented into Kepco’s system.

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