UK’s potential power in sharing power
October 4, 2023

Mahmoud Elkazaz

Andrew Eviston

Mahmoud Elkazaz & Andrew Eviston

Welcome to a world where energy is readily shared and traded among peers, revolutionizing how we power our lives. Amid the UK’s ambitious net-zero journey, peer-to-peer energy trading emerging as a powerful tool that empowers individuals to take control of their own carbon footprint. Imagine generating excess renewable energy from your solar panels and sharing it seamlessly with neighbors in need – creating a vibrant community powered by sustainability.

Join us as we delve into the profound significance of peer-to-peer energy trading and how it sets ablaze our path toward a greener future. Get ready to embrace this electrifying concept that sparks hope for a more efficient, equitable, and eco-conscious world.

P2P energy trading

In the UK, we’re on a journey to net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this, various sectors will need to make significant changes – and the energy sector is no exception. One way that the energy sector is evolving is through the increasing prevalence of peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading.

So, what is P2P energy trading? It’s a way for individuals or businesses with solar panels to sell surplus electricity directly to their neighbors, rather than selling it back to the grid[1]. This not only helps to empower consumers but can also help to create a more efficient and sustainable energy system. Several P2P energy trading platforms are already operating in the UK, households with solar panels can sell their surplus electricity to their neighbors, and for those without solar panels to buy renewable energy at a lower cost. Not only does this provide an additional income stream for solar panel owners, but it also helps to cut carbon emissions by increasing the amount of renewable energy used. It’s likely that this form of trading will become increasingly common in the years ahead.

Blockchain technology

A blockchain is a digital ledger or database where encrypted blocks of digital asset data are stored and chained together, forming a chronological single source of truth for the data. Blockchains can be used for trading as follows: A trader managing one of the solar energy desks is about to execute a physical solar energy trade with an industrial customer. One of the trading algorithms scans available market interest and optimizes its search for the best deal to meet the customer’s volume and tenor requirements for a given period. Once the customer approves the proposed deal terms, the trade is executed and recorded on the blockchain.

P2P energy trading benefits

P2P energy trading is the direct exchange of energy between two or more parties without a centralized utility or grid operator.

There are numerous benefits of P2P energy trading, including:

  • Increased Efficiency: P2P energy trading can help improve the overall efficiency of the UK’s energy system by using existing resources better. This can lead to reduced carbon emissions and save money on energy bills.
  • Greater Resilience: A decentralized energy system is less vulnerable to large-scale disruptions, such as power outages. P2P energy trading can help to build a more resilient energy system that is better able to withstand disruptions.
  • Improved Sustainability: P2P energy trading can enable a shift to cleaner forms of generation, such as renewable solar and wind power. This will help the UK meet its climate change goals and create a more sustainable energy system for future generations.
  • Reduced costs for Prosumers: Prosumers can store power through battery storage and sell at peak times to cut down on their own energy production costs.

UK P2P energy trading

There are already several P2P energy trading trial projects in the UK such as:

Though trials for P2P energy trading are currently in their infancy, they have the backing of some of the UK’s biggest energy firms – such as Centrica and EDF Energy – who are understandably keen to grasp the impact the trend will have on the traditional supplier model.

UrbanChain is the leading provider of P2P energy exchange services in the UK. They currently manage +200GWh of renewable energy exchange and have +3.3TWh in their pipeline.

Challenges and barriers to implementing P2P systems

There are several challenges and barriers to implementing peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading systems, which include:

  • Regulation: The current regulatory landscape does not fully support the development of P2P energy trading platforms and there is a lack of clarity around the rules and regulations governing P2P energy trading. This needs to be addressed to create a level playing field for all market participants;
  • Interoperability: P2P energy trading platforms need to be able to interoperate with existing energy markets and systems to be successful. This includes integration with existing metering, billing and settlement systems, when this works at scale the DSO will have a much different load profile (less predictable) to manage.
  • Consumer awareness: There are currently low levels of awareness amongst consumers about P2P energy trading and how it works. This needs to be addressed through education and marketing campaigns in order for more consumers to participate in P2P energy trading platforms The same can be said for educating consumers on how the pricing mechanisms work and how equitable it can be.

Find out how PSC can help

PSC’s global energy experts will help your organization deliver innovative solutions. Contact us to discuss the first steps.