6 Jul 2024

Aotea Energy aims to revolutionise market with peer to peer sharing grid

7:06 pm on 6 July 2024
Tama Toki.

Tama Toki won the Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award and Kaitiaki Business Leader Award in 2022. Photo: RNZ / Amy Williams

Imagine selling energy you don't need to a neighbour, or buying some if you're low.

A peer to peer sharing grid is what Aotea Energy is making into reality.

The company was recently awarded $50,000 to develop its sustainable energy technology as a part of the Climate Accelerator programme by Creative HQ.

Its founder Tama Toki, who also recently won the Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award and Kaitiaki Business Leader Award at the Māori Business Awards, is focusing initial efforts on Great Barrier Island/Aotea, his boyhood home, where energy security can be precarious.

He told Māpuna that his inspiration is from his upbringing.

"Aotea has no utility for power, so everyone there's super self-sufficient. A lot of people have solar, some kind of car battery set up.

"Our core business is based there and we had to put a big energy bank in ... and the idea around intermittent generation, if we're not using the assets, the idea was to share with the papakāinga, the community that we worked adjacent with and that's how the seed was planted."

Toki said his team are building their own peer to peer sharing grid and trialing it with 10 homes on the island.

"It's really, really exciting. The only way for us to have a crack at this is to build the whole tech stack."

The idea is for all components of it to be smart working, so the technology would have predict weather patterns and how much each home needed typically.

Toki believed New Zealand had enough resource to break new ground in the renewable energy space.

"I think Aotearoa should be the world's first renewable economy.

"We're already at 82 percent renewable with regard to our grid, the demographics of 5 million people, same size as Sydney, and I think we have enough resource in terms of wind and solar to break new ground in this area."

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