The Innovators podcast: Jemma Green brings power to the people

Cryptocurrency. Blockchain. Peer-to-peer trading. If there were an energy start-up award for “nowness”, Perth-based PowerLedger would have to be a contender.

A software platform that allows users to trade surplus renewable energy with each other and back to retailers, PowerLedger is part of what its founders like to call “a democratisation of power”.

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But one of the founders behind the company, Dr Jemma Green, has more than one story to tell. A former merchant banker in London turned PhD graduate, she’s most recently been in the news for her elevation from independent councillor to interim Lord Mayor for the City of Perth.

PowerLedger co-founder and chair, Jemma Green
PowerLedger co-founder and chair, Jemma Green.

In this fascinating first episode of ARENA’s new series of its ReWired podcast, we get an insight into PowerLedger’s rise to becoming one of the most-talked about new companies in renewable energy as Green discusses with host Adam Morton the public sentiment that drove its recent $34 million Initial Coin Offering.

And while Green came up with the idea for PowerLedger as part of projects and PhD research back in Perth, the real groundwork was set on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and in the mountains of Nepal, South America and Israel when, and after 10 years in London and ready to return home, a thought kept bugging her: “I just got fixated in my head with the idea of building an eco village.”

That eco village became the $2.6 million White Gum Valley residential housing development in Fremantle, backed by Curtin University and developer Landcorp. Equipped with solar and battery systems, ARENA has also put $900,000 towards the development of a governance model for the sharing of renewable energy between apartments.

At its heart, this idea of neighbours trading energy with each other is central to Green’s work with PowerLedger.

“I think that for pretty much the past century, consumers have been at the end of a very long line of electricity,” she says. “And in the past decade, this new system is emerging, characterised by citizen utilities or citizen power stations, and more generation to the distribution part of the energy network.”

Find out where PowerLedger is headed and more about Jemma Green’s vision for the future of energy in Power to the People, the first episode of ReWired: The Innovators series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to keep up to date with new episode releases and catch up on the first series of ReWired about large-scale solar projects, hosted by Courtney Carthy, here.

This article was originally written by Dewi Cooke, Writer.