Demand Management, Energy Procurement  -  June 19, 2019

Energy-sector blockchain launches

The Energy Web Foundation (EWF) announced that it has launched the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain), the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector. EWF is currently tracking 17 decentralized applications (dApps) running on test networks that focus on creating customer and business value by expanding markets for renewable energy trading, increasing the effectiveness and depth of demand response programs, and streamlining electric vehicle charging. These dApps are expected to transition to the live network over the coming weeks.

“This is a watershed moment for accelerating a low-carbon, customer-centric electricity system,” said Jesse Morris, chief commercial officer of EWF, in a statement. “I hope that we will look back on today’s EW Chain launch as another inflection point in electricity’s evolution, just as we now see wind and solar tumbling down the cost curve, the deployment of smart meters and other digital infrastructure, and the surge of electric vehicle investment and ownership.”

More than ten organizations are hosting validator nodes for the Energy Web Chain. These organizations are the foundation of the Energy Web chain’s public Proof-of-Authority (PoA) network design: a publicly accessible, ethereum-based network with permissioned validators. The chain itself is public; any company, individual, or internet-connected device can transact across the network without permission. According to the statement, this PoA-based design comes with three additional benefits for the energy sector: scalability, energy efficiency (which also equates to low transaction costs for energy market participants using the network), and increased regulatory compliance.

"Most companies in the electricity sector know that value is shifting downstream. And most are focusing on building relationships with their customers. But most customers do not want to build relationships with their utilities,” explained Hervé Touati, co-founder and chief executive officer for EWF. “What customers do is to invest in distribution edge devices—solar PV, batteries, charging stations, electric vehicles, smart controls— at such a pace that they may well outgrow utilities’ total investments within a decade. That offers a unique opportunity for utilities: develop relationships with their customers' assets, rather than the customers themselves. For that, utilities need new kinds of software technology, like the Energy Web Chain—distributed, open source, run by the industry—allowing low-cost interoperability and trust between millions of devices and retailers or grid operators.”

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