New blockchain use cases coming for the energy sector

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New blockchain use cases are under development for Energy Web’s Decentralised Operating System (EW-DOS) and the EW Chain.

Among these are enterprise-grade settlement services, distributed resource integration, the growth of geothermal energy in Germany and the advance of token-enabled ecosystems.

Enterprise software provider R3 is partnering with Energy Web with the aim to unlock same-day settlement for grid services for devices, businesses and customers. Traditionally in the energy sector, the handling of settlements and payments for this purpose is imprecise, with little transparency around the usage of assets or the calculation of fees and revenues, and often can take up to one year.

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The solution will connect R3’s enterprise-grade blockchain platform Corda with the Energy Web stack. Corda enables businesses to transact directly and in strict privacy using smart contracts, reducing the transaction and record keeping costs and streamlining business operations.

In addition, the complexity of utility account net settlement in multi-layered markets can be greatly simplified and risk profiles for energy sector transactions reduced.

As an example of the potential, Energy Web cites its Automatic Frequency Restoration Reserves (AFRR) marketplace that was developed for Austrian Power Grid, in which millions of IoT-connected energy assets are able to each send hundreds of signed confirmation messages to the marketplace in 15-minute delivery periods. All of those messages are then aggregated in order to settle payment for the delivery of purchased flexibility.

A customer’s account accrues value over time and the customer can elect to have the balance transferred to their bank account or subtracted from their bill.

DERs and flexibility

The US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), another new member of Energy Web, is partnering on the advance of open blockchain platforms for integrating distributed resources.

The collaboration will include inter alia further development of EW-DOS, the building of test applications that run on EW-DOS in an EPRI-hosted test environment, and research on the benefits of an open public digital infrastructure to support a register of distributed resources and for integration of those resources with energy markets.

German geothermal energy plant developer Deutsche ErdWärme is moving to use the Energy Web platform to grow the contribution of geothermal towards meeting the country’s climate targets and energy transition.

Germany has the potential to increase deep geothermal from 1.2TWh today to over 100TWh by 2050, while also millions of shallow geothermal units are foreseen. Deutsche ErdWärme anticipates that geothermal can provide flexibility as well as baseload power to the system and intends to be at the forefront of this delivery.

Token standards

For its part Energy Web has joined the InterWork Alliance, an industry non-profit dedicated to creating the standards frameworks for token-enabled distributed services.

Energy Web expects to collaborate to set the standards for building distributed applications, including appropriate frameworks for tokenising items of value, writing contracts over those tokens and privacy-preserving analytics of multi-party data.

The Energy Web Chain includes a native utility token, the Energy Web Token. In addition, many of its software development toolkits apply a multi-token approach for handling the fungible and non-fungible aspects of digitalised assets, such as energy attribute certificates that serve as the verified ‘proof of purchase’ for renewable energy.

The IWA frameworks should enable businesses to create standardised token definitions and contracts in non-technical business terms, and then turn them over to developers for coding on a platform of choice.