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Powering Renewable Energy with Data Streaming

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Powerledger is a global blockchain-based energy platform founded in Australia in 2016 with the belief that the democratization of power is necessary for a sustainable future. We facilitate peer-to-peer trading of renewable electricity, with an ultimate goal to create a global marketplace that enables carbon-free energy 24/7. The industry has been fairly static for the last 50 years or so, but there have been major shifts within the past decade.

We’ve seen the emergence of the four Ds: decentralization, decarbonization, democratization, and digitalization. Powerledger is contributing to the democratization piece, as the industry moves from a unidirectional to a multi-directional model. Customers and companies are engaging actively with the grid, providing a multi-pronged effect.

This democratic way of working comes with a raft of benefits. It brings more renewables into the grid, supporting a carbon-free and cleaner, greener future. The energy is also trackable, which offers more trust and transparency in a previously opaque market. This way of working is more cost-effective due to shorter buyback times and increased choice for consumers.

Frankly, it’s a win for both our planet and people.

Sitting at the heart of these Ds is another—data. And that’s the essential component that Confluent provides for Powerledger—real-time data streaming that supports a truly live, global trading platform.

We have a huge potential market, and within the next five years we’re aiming to bring 100 million smart meters onto our platform and welcome one billion users. To scale rapidly, our energy trading platform must be able to keep up with our ambition and deal with vast data volumes from many different sources such as utilities, energy retailers, and smart meters.

We approached Confluent in 2022 to support us in building a foundation that would allow our software systems to scale flexibly and handle ever-increasing data volumes in a more cost-effective way.

Due to the nature of our industry, it was also crucial to select a partner that was completely reliable and trustworthy. We provide essential services, so we can’t risk a minute of downtime. Plus, we have a responsibility to our customers and regulators to ensure security at all times. We had complete trust in Confluent on both counts.

Integrating data streaming into Powerledger’s infrastructure

In 2021, we carried out a complete re-evaluation of our data architecture that led us to adapting Atlas, MongoDB’s developer platform, and its document database model, which convincingly outperformed other databases in all categories.

Apache Kafka was already at the core of Powerledger's energy commodity trading platform, so bringing together these two high-performance technologies with Confluent was an obvious next step. The integration with Confluent’s fully managed data streaming cloud services was seamless from an infrastructure perspective.

Scaling with powerful performance and incredible capacity 

It’s early days, but the progress we’ve made is enormous strides in the right direction, achieving a complete scalability and performance transformation.

Performance on load testing is incredibly promising. We recently developed a blockchain that processes 60,000 transactions per second, whereas our previous Ethereum-based blockchain could only manage up to 12 transactions per second.

We’ve also achieved a data processing capacity of one million records in seven minutes, which we’d never experienced before. We have the ability to upload data from 25,000 different meters in just a couple of minutes, whereas previously this would have taken us several hours.

Cost-effectiveness is also a key benefit. And the work has also been transformative for our developers. Data streaming has helped make better use of developer time to focus on new tools and enhancements to our platform, rather than on data and data processing. The new data platform has enabled our team to develop new features faster.

Instead of focusing on the minutiae of data streams, our team can turn their attention to bringing more value for our business and customers. Productivity has excelled and that’s a huge win.

Here at Powerledger, we can’t wait to continue scaling at great speed, onboarding more and more users, and transforming the landscape of the energy industry.

Learn more about how Confluent can help across industry use cases.

  • Vivek Bhandari, PhD, is Chief Technology Officer at Powerledger. He has worked and led teams at Fortune companies as well as budding startups.

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