Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp has agreed to back WePower, a Lithuania-based blockchain power purchasing platform that aims to establish itself in Australia and tap rapid growth in solar and wind power.
As reported by Reuters, Marubeni has issued an unspecified loan to WePower, convertible into shares, though the size of the stake for Marubeni after converting the loan has not yet been determined.
According to WePower, the blockchain platform was designed to make it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to buy power from wind and solar project developers. The platform also purportedly offers standardized, digital power purchase agreements to help underwrite new projects.
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are typically negotiated between a developer and an industrial buyer, but negotiations tend to be lengthy and complex while requiring contractual commitments of at least 5-10 years.
Although Australia is currently running out of major power consumers to commit to large supplies of power from new projects, tens of billions of dollars worth of power generation projects are being planned. Lining up enough PPAs to back a project therefore requires turning to smaller commercial and industrial businesses.
To that end, WePower offers a standard contract, shorter timeframes and flexibility for buyers to on-sell their offtake agreements should the power no longer be necessary. In a single day, the company raised US$40 million in February 2018 in an initial coin offering (ICO).
As such, the only remaining discussion point through the platform was the price, according to Nikolaj Martynuk, chief executive and co-founder of WePower.
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