During the last weeks I reviewed several reports of energy blockchains. There are at the moment approximately 100 companies and pilot projects working with blockchain and energy. Main source of information was the report of Solarplaza, but also from the Energy Web Foundation and speeches and posters shown at Berlin Energy Blockchain conference Eventhorizon2018 April 17-29, 2018. You can read about my findings in this – I admit – longer article:
1. Most of the action (over 55%) is concentrated on the European continent.
2. The top 3 countries are the US, Germany and the Netherlands.
4. Ethereum blockchain is dominant, around 50% use it.
5. Close to 70% of the companies were started/founded between 2016 and 2017, which reflects an early stage the technology
6. More than one out of every three companies have conducted (or are planning) an ICO/token sale.
The figures are rough estimates, lots of data were missing. As blockchain was developed as an offshoot from the financial sector, a comparison could be done between possible applications in the energy sector to those developed from the financial sector.
The use of blockchain could remove the need for banks as middle men in the financial sector. In the energy sector it is mostly utility companies (energy distribution organisations) which are disrupted. Accounts would be based on the distributed ledger, and the transaction would be securely recorded. This approach is simple: it shall reduce costs and increase transparency.
The energy sector however has a different concept of “middle men” than the financial sector. In many transactions, a physical delivery of gas, electricity of heat is made.
It involves various market participants between buyer and seller, including transmission system operators (TSOs), exchanges, central counterparts, and clearing houses.
Regarding infrastructure, this would be required even under a blockchain and smart contract regime. Assuming that TSOs are “middle men”, in order to be removed either buyer or seller would need to own the linking infrastructure.
Regarding default, such “middle men” are designed to reduce transaction risk. As blockchain seeks to remove third parties to reduce transaction risk, it could be argued that no significant benefit is to be gained through replacing such third parties by using blockchain.
In light of these factors, two questions are key to considering the value of implementing blockchain in the energy sector:
– Who do you want to remove from the transaction? e.g. facilitator, transporter, exchange operator, clearing house
– Why? e.g. reduction of cost, risk, other?
The answers to these should be considered in that the success of blockchain lies in its specific ability to:
– reliably and securely record transactions; and
– automatically execute transaction-specific clauses.
Blockchain is a technology still in its infancy and there are no clear trends or limits as to how it could be used in the energy sector. There are many pilot projects which are currently exploring various uses.
The energy and power industry has very few early entrants and boasts a cumulative market cap under $1 billion. The power industry can benefit from the transparency, security, ease of transferring, and minimal transaction costs associated with the blockchain.
Projects, which I find interesting, outstanding, worth to be mentioned:
The Energy Web defines itself as open-source, scalable blockchain platform specifically designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs. It serves as a foundational, shared, digital infrastructure for the energy and blockchain community to build and run their solutions.
The blockchain which will be designed by the Energy Web Foundation specifically serves the needs of this industry: high transaction rates at low costs. The Energy Web Foundation has the potential to et a new standard and has the potential to be widely used!
SOLARA’s blockchain platform will create a trustless energy provenance record on the blockchain. It improves industry participant confidence in green energy infrastructure projects through the combination of strong cryptographic proofs and the use of so called SOLARA Hardware Modules (SHMs). It allows solar asset owners like private house owners with photovoltaic panels to potentially monetise their energy data.
At scale, the SOLARA platform has the potential to become the Bloomberg or Reuters of energy data, and effectively audit the global energy production, trading and use markets through the SOLARA blockchain. The ICO has not yet been started.
The Green Power Exchange (“GPX”) is at its core a platform to trade and forward trade renewable energy, backed by real energy assets. It is an efficient market place for renewable energy producers and consumers to buy and sell electricity via smart contracts based on an underlying blockchain technology.
All of the issues raised in Section 1 can be solved through the application of a blockchain backed platform that has Smart Power Purchase Agreements built in. The GPX exchange will facilitate these exchanges by the adoption of a standardised and user-friendly contract based on our industry knowledge and existing power purchase agreements. Producers will be able to set the terms of the contract by simply clicking on check boxes that will include certain conditions (ie. Late payment policy, minimum purchase requirement, total power offered).
The Green Power Exchange platform provides a standard PPA based on the jurisdiction the renewable energy power plant is located in, or allows producers to upload their own. Any uploaded contract will be vetted to ensure strict compliance to standards set by the Green Power Exchange before it is stored on the blockchain. The contract will also include a layman’s summary of each section, so that all terms are clear and no potential consumer is misled. There are well-known standards and best practices for smart contracts. By following these standards, GPX will create blockchain services with predictable functionality and behavior. This will make integration of smart contracts into the power purchase process streamlined. The ERC20 compliant nature of these contracts means they can be easily integrated into third-party systems and applications (e.g. token exchanges and payment gateways). GPX aims to act simultaneously on global and local levels. In order to create a simple and effective instrument for energy providers and consumers, we propose a two-level token model:
- The Green Energy Transfer Token (GET) will be a utility token, acting only as arepresentation of the power that is to be transmitted between the producer and consumer.
- The Green Power Exchange Token (GPX), this ERC20 compliant token will serve a variety of functions, however, the main function of the GPX token will be of facilitate exchange of funds and to act as a means of exchange between jurisdictions.
The Green Energy Transfer Token (GET)
The GET token is the core of the Green Power Exchange Platform. Each GET is equal to 1 kWh and is jurisdictionally dependent. This means that power sold in France cannot be consumed in the U.S., as this is not currently physically possible. However, because the token is location dependent, it can be traded within its network and presents a unique opportunity for power trading as a commodity on the GPX platform.
Power Ledger is one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the energy sector. Their crypto is currently priced at 0,46 EUR with. It was founded in May 2016 which makes them relatively old compared to many of the other cryptocurrencies on this list. When POWR began, they attempted to help solve three significant issues facing the global energy system. The first objective aims to provide alternative energy to individuals living in high-density areas. Their second goal is to change electricity networks to create an incentive for the Decentralized Energy Resources (DERs).
Their final goal is to mitigate the risk of connecting billions of dollars in network assets by using a secure decentralized blockchain. The last two years provided POWR the perfect opportunity to begin solving the problems plaguing the energy sector.
An Ambitious First Few Years:
August 2016 was when POWR’s first major milestone was accomplished. It should also be noted that a significant advantage for Power Ledger is that the Australian government backs the firm. As such, they are able to develop and trial the country’s first energy trading blockchain.
Almost immediately after, POWR made headlines again by deploying a peer-to-peer blockchain energy trading platform in New Zealand. These two accomplishments put the energy company on the map as an active player in the energy sector with the support of a government that is continually dealing with power related difficulties.
The achievements did not cease there, and by the end of the second quarter of 2017, POWR had deployed a commercial energy management system. It explicitly allowed for the transparent distribution of locally generated renewable energy to tenants in multi-unit dwellings.
Instead of being required to purchase power from the monopolised electric companies, an individual now can buy their electricity from someone generating it locally. POWR specialises in renewable energies, so the voltage you are purchasing is guaranteed to be from wind, solar, etc. (renewable sources).
POWR’s latest achievement is to enable vehicle charging stations across Australia. These charging stations would use solar power to charge themselves, and the user pays for the ability to access the charging station temporarily. With more and more individuals purchasing electric vehicles but not wanting to pay for the expensive charging devices that are required, pay to use charging stations should continue to increase in popularity.
Currently, POWR offers peer to peer trading of renewable energies in Australia and New Zealand. It runs charging stations popping up across Australia and have plans to expand further. With fully developed applications and many on the horizon, POWR looks to be the safest play in the long term for mass adoption as an entire country is already rallied behind it.
MWAT is a token design by ReStart Energy for the RED platform. ReStart Energy is the fastest growing private energy provider in the European Union. The firm is also officially licensed as an energy supplier for the continent.
2017 saw more than $20 million in revenue with 2018 expected to surpass $100 million. Across the European Union ReStart currently has 35,000 paying customers and a 400 percent yearly growth rate. ReStart Energy created the RED platform to trade the MWAT token.
Their ICO hit the hard cap very quickly on January 15, 2018, but since then their price has been pummelled by the market correction. MWAT currency is valued at EUR 0.05 per token with a market cap of $24 million. This cap is exceptionally low for what the MWAT token represents.
The MWAT token enables the trading and storage of energy in a virtual network. Each token is “backed” by an initial charge of 0.11kWh/token. Over time tokens accumulate more value as energy from producers drives their initial “charge.”
The capacity per token is set at one MWh/token once fully charged. This idea is fascinating and revolutionary MWAT is attempting to create a system where you can bypass your local energy supplier and buy a cryptocurrency in exchange for power for your home or business. However, to be able to use the MWAT and trade it person to person a blockchain platform had to be created.
ReStart Energy decided to name their blockchain the RED Platform. What RED accomplishes is a global decentralised energy supply platform with p2p capabilities. This network enables consumers to buy energy from each other or directly from producers like ReStart.
The blockchain implements another level of transparency and security. By not having to transport that individual atom of energy through multiple middlemen and intermediaries the RED platform can save consumers well over 30 percent on energy costs. The savings the MWAT token provides the consumer will lead to mass adoption and the driving of the token’s value North.
ReStart has developed 500 Megawatt (MW) renewable energy projects and, through their ICO, intends to tokenize the use of energy on the blockchain. An enormous customer base and fantastic partners in the European Union will lead MWAT well above their ICO price.
Most coins have staking, or masternodes, or some form of adding value to long-term holders who purchase in mass quantities. MWAT is no different but once again adds a unique spin to holding large amounts of tokens.
The RED platform needed to use the MWAT token, in your home or business, launches in April 2018 with the countrywide launch in Romania coming by August. Currently, MWAT is priced under their ICO price even though they are backed by a profiting, rapidly growing, private, European Union based energy supply company with many partners and customers.
Every aspect is there for MWAT to be as big if not bigger than POWR over the next year. If MWAT is 50 percent of POWR’s market cap by the year-end it will provide a 500 percent return. If MWAT rivals POWR, they will yield over 1,000 percent in 2018.
ReStart Energy has tokenised electricity in the MWAT cryptocurrency and can legally distribute power it in the European Union. Their platform is going live for individuals to use MWATs by the end of quarter three with major partnerships and revenue streams already in place. Expect MWAT to be one of the few real moon potentials for 2018.
Similarly, to MWAT, WePower (WPR) also recently finished their ICO. Their token, the WPR, was recently trading at around $0.15 with a market cap $53 million. WPR is a green energy trading platform on the Ethereum Network. This means the tokens are ERC-20 which is convenient for transferring between wallets. The WPR platform helps green energy project developers to raise funds by allowing them to sell their energy directly to consumers by bypassing centralized energy companies.
By bypassing centralized energy companies, the consumer can pay a drastically reduced rate. This is beneficial for both producers of green energy and the consumers. The producer of the energy succeeds by not having to seek funding from venture capitalists or institutions at outlandish debt rates.
The consumer wins by having electricity in their home at a fraction of their previous cost. All these energy cryptocurrencies have many similarities but determining which one will have mass adoption is very important.
WPR intends to allow consumers to buy energy directly from renewable producers on a one kWh basis through smart contracts. This will enable global investment opportunities when green energy projects are presented while also increasing the existing market for consuming green energy. 23.000 people contributed to help us deliver our #mission of accelerating RenewableEnergy development and shifting the world towards a more #sustainable living. It is our time to now work even harder and deliver. The ball is in our hands and it is our time to now work even harder and deliver. WePower intends to act as an energy intermediary or an energy supplier of sorts. The firm’s platform connects to the energy grid and a local energy exchange market. The energy user also connects to this market, and all links in the chain are completed. When a renewable energy producer joins, future energy is tokenized based on kWh units.
Each internal energy token represents one kWh to be produced at a certain time in the future. This concept is fantastic as the consumer would not need additional equipment to pay energy bills besides being able to connect to the WePower market.
WPR tokens specifically allow for priority access to their holders for auctions of tokenized energy of future green energy plants. This allows token holders to purchase energy at the lowest initial price set by the producer. WPR is not used to pay for energy tokens.
WPR tokens are also rewarded in the form of dividends donated from producers at a 0.9 percent rate of total sales. This results in the WPR tokens accruing green energy over time and allowing them to sell or use the green energy once it’s produced and provided in a dividend. The idea seems solid, but who is the team behind the project?
The WPR project is sponsored by The Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania because of its likely positive impact on climate change. WPR is an innovative token that when clarified to the European regulator highlighted how it is structured as a reward based crowdfunding, where contributors are rewarded free energy to be used or sold in the future.
There are currently three partnerships to connect 1,000 MW capacity projects to the WPR network from Conquista Solar, Civitas, and Novocorex.
WPR has a lot of potential, but the uncertainty with European regulators and the token being a crowdfunding device seems to be a manipulative way around whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish. A major positive for WPR is their team as it is truly outstanding.
WPR’s government connections in Australia and Lithuania make it a very strong play as it is a rare find to see two governments actively interested in a single cryptocurrency.
Due to significant partnerships, an exceptional team and government support WPR should have an above average 2018. I believe that MWAT will outperform WPR and the other coins on this list, but if a second-place award were to be given, WPR would get the silver.
SolarCoin (SLR) was launched in 2014 making it the oldest cryptocurrency on this list. A lack of market adoption and a shaky business model has, however, resulted in severe price fluctuations without ever gaining substantial traction. Currently, SLR is traded for $0.76 per token with a market cap of approximately $30 million. The concept was based on the idea of rewarding solar energy producers.The basic idea is simple: it indicates that if you have solar panels, you receive SLR as a “thank you” for being a good Samaritan. Think of it like miles for an airline company. By traveling you acquire them at no added cost to yourself. SLR provides tokens for free based on the amount of photovoltaic energy generated by the producer.
SolarCoin’s primary goal is to work as an incentive to reward the owner of solar photovoltaic systems in tokens. This stimulates the implementation of solar panels worldwide, accomplishing the introduction of renewable energy systems on a mass scale. Any owner of a solar installation may apply to claim their free SLR.
The form to sign up can be found on the company’s website. One SLR is provided per MWh of solar electricity generated. SLR coins are sent every six months based on solar energy produced.
Paying the “dividend” once every six months? Initially very interesting, but If the market adoption has not taken place in the prior three years, it is unlikely to happen now. The other energy cryptocurrencies do everything from actually tokenizing power to having partnerships with governments and major energy producers.
SLR’s selling point is that they are an incentive for solar producers paid semi-annually? The energy cryptocurrency market is already beginning to be filled with great options, and SLR does not seem to be one of the better choices.
The objective of SunContract platform is to empower individuals, with an emphasis on home owners, to freely buy, sell or trade electricity. Instead of being hamstrung by natural monopoly of traditional power generators and distributors, one can now exchange electricity with any person one wishes to do directly.
By creating this platform, SunContract gives one the opportunity to become completely energy self-sufficient. Through the platform one can buy electricity, solar power plants, heat pumps and storage units and select between a wide array of energy products and services. For the first time in history individuals can decide on how much to pay for and to what extent even sell home-generated, green and blockchain-backed energy. It´s a contribution to as self-sufficient, eco-friendly, green energy community.