The Australian government is looking into using blockchain technology for its national electricity and water grids. A total of $8 million has been awarded in funding to a project that started off in the city of Fremantle. Other cities, including Port Adelaide and Darwin, have also received government-sponsored financing for their own “smart city” attempts.
Smart Cities in Australia
The regions hefty allocation is one of the largest grants that the Australian government has issued, second only to another smart city program entitled “Switching On Darwin.”
With a long list of partners boasting academic and technological backgrounds, Australia hopes that this grant can kick-start the implementation of blockchain technology into existing civil infrastructures. In addition to the federal funding, the project’s partners have also pledged around double the amount of private backing.
The Australian government has declared that they would support this project with $2.57 million, while project partners are contributing $5.68 million. Along with this grant, Western Power, CRC and the Australian Energy Market Operator will also be backing this project.
The trial hopes to connect several small and large-scale solar power plants with batteries and charging stations. While this endeavor sounds simple in theory, the project’s idea is to facilitate all of this through the use of blockchain. Using blockchain for such a project has several advantages and can be practically implemented for this purpose as well.
Proposed Blockchain Applications
The most appropriate application of this project is at water treatment plants where energy capacity upgrades are currently due. Not only will this meet financial and service resource targets for the update, but it will also open doors to several private companies looking to offer their services. The partner responsibilities have also been wholly outlined for this program.
Curtin University has undertaken the task of research and development, with a focus on increasing efficiency rates. Power Ledger will be assisting as far as the blockchain aspect is concerned, providing the necessary transactional layers. CSIRO/Data61 will handle analysis of risks and forecasts, both vital for any program of this scale that involves the national electric and water systems.
For this project, data analytics is probably the icing on the metaphorical cake. Current infrastructure maintains suppliers and users of the electric grid as separate components, but in this case, their relationship can be carefully studied and analyzed.
What this means is a potential increase in efficiency of both, the electric and water grids. The project administrators will also track things like wastage and other discrepancies during the transition.
Global Integration Interests
With this move, Australia is yet another in the long list of countries that have openly embraced the use of blockchain technology. Some states have commented on their plans for using blockchain to augment financial transactions. Others, like Australia, have broadened the scope of blockchain technology and looked outside its effects on finance.
Startups everywhere are trying to integrate blockchains into existing infrastructure. Like most new technologies in their early stages, an explosive growth of blockchain is currently underway. As cryptocurrencies start to gain even more traction, more private ventures might also begin employing the technology.