Softbank, a group of Japanese technology and energy firms, is launching a pilot project aimed to allow consumers in rural areas to trade renewable energy over a blockchain-based platform.
Scheduled to start in June this year and endorsed by Japan’s ministry of the environment, the project will be supervised by energy trading startup Power Sharing with technological support provided by energy corporations such as Tokyo Electric Power Co. and financial giant Softbank, according to a statement released Monday.
Softbank said it will lend its capacity in authenticating critical information about renewable energy trading, such as “who, what, when, where, how much.” That data and the energy trades will then be recorded and transacted over the blockchain platform jointly developed by the partners.
The hope, according to the statement, is to use this customer-to-customer mechanism to incentivize residents in rural Japan to switch to renewable energy, of which they can sell any excess capacity, as part of Japan’s effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
While traditional centralized systems can also provide a platform for renewable energy trading, the partners explained that they become extremely complex if used across general consumers. As such, existing systems are limited to large corporations.
The pilot, while still months away, marks the latest attempt by established corporations to utilize blockchain technology in helping reduce CO2 emissions in the energy sector.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, technology giant IBM has already started exploring the use of a blockchain platform in pushing energy-intensive corporations in China to trade their unused CO2 emission quotas, as part of the country’s wider effort to combat air pollution.