Ara Ake, New Zealand’s national new energy centre, now have several companies on board for their multiple trading relationships (MTR) pilot, a world-first that provides individuals and businesses with more choice and flexibility when it comes to managing their electricity.

To date, the pilot has received significant interest from potential participants including metering equipment providers, electricity distribution businesses, EV charging suppliers, demand response providers, and retailers, including Our Energy and Ecotricity.

Our Energy, a New Zealand-based company who have developed an online platform for people and communities producing their own electricity, has joined the pilot as a retailer, and has already signed up customer, Nuralite, and supplier, Thundergrid, to start trial projects.

Our Energy’s founder, John Campbell, is pleased that they can be an active participant on the project.

“For us, MTR represents the electricity industry’s unbundling moment and can enable the benefits of distributed energy resources to be shared more widely. MTR is about providing a more customer, community, and whānau centric electricity market that gives people more flexibility and diversity in their market interactions, which will ultimately help achieve Aotearoa emissions budgets at lower cost,” says Campbell.

“Greater customer participation in electricity markets, which MTR can enable, is something that aligns strongly with our vision of a better, fairer, cleaner and more local energy future,” continues Campbell.

“Continuing its tradition of leading the way to a carbon neutral New Zealand, Ecotricity is pleased to be part of the Ara Ake MTR project”, says Jason Christini-Crawford, Smart Grid Programme Manager of Ecotricity. 

“The trial provides a framework for innovative products to be developed and Ecotricity is excited to be partnering with Our Energy and Nuralite to deliver a unique Peer to Peer trading solution that will deliver benefits to Nuralite, their staff and the environment.”

Having invested in a fleet of electric vehicles, Nuralite is planning to provide its excess solar power to all staff to help reduce their household power bills.

“Nuralite is looking to push the boundaries in pursuit of carbon reduction. This MTR project is exciting as it will enable us to install more solar panels than we would ordinarily install - sharing the excess solar generation with our South Island warehouse and team throughout New Zealand,” says John Simmons, Nuralite’s Managing Director.

Ara Ake have also engaged with Jade Software to design and build the digital platform that enables MTR. The platform will encompass the functionality of the connection and allocation agents – providing a means for transactions between MTR stakeholders (i.e. retailers, customers and suppliers) to take place. 

Jade Client Director, Ian Hight, comments “We are very excited to be part of this pilot which will provide technology to support the changes occurring within New Zealand’s energy sector. A strong partnership with our customers, such as Ara Ake, who very clearly share our values and approach to innovation, has always been our key to success.”

“Jade has a deep pool of energy sector expertise based on our long-term relationship with the New Zealand Electricity Authority, building and supporting the Electricity Authority Register.”

“As the MTR pilot will integrate with the Electricity Authority Register, this is a natural progression to take that sector knowledge and embed our customer experience design and integration work within this project,” Hight concludes.

Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes is pleased to see the uptake of interest in the pilot.

“It is great to see this very important pilot progressing, and the high degree of interest from the energy sector it is attracting. Having these innovative companies on board to take the MTR pilot to the next phase is paramount to determine the feasibility of the concept and its benefits to customers,” says Marantes.

Registrations to participate in the trial is open until 1 April 2022. The pilot’s operational phase is expected to run until April 2023.

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