Vattenfall AB, one of Europe's leading energy trading firms, is reportedly struggling to keep up with the volume of trades it has to process, which can number up to 8,000 in a single day. With the expectation that this figure will increase several-fold as more sources of renewable energy come online over the next few years, the company is eyeing a shift to a blockchain-integrated platform to manage its trades.
Kilian Leykam, the head of business development at the company's trading unit in Hamburg, said the move would allow the firm to oversee trades of smaller volumes of energy, explaining that "with smaller transactions sizes you are able to target volumes that otherwise would have been neglected." These transactions could include energy generated by solar panels on people's houses or stored in home batteries, and Leykam predicts that blockchain technology will be instrumental in supporting a network of these energy production and storage devices.
Vattenfall, along with over 20 other European utilities, is also involved in two blockchain trials that are expected to go live sometime in 2018, but not be fully operational for three to five years.
Another player in an increasingly crowded field of European energy firms seeking blockchain solutions, the Norwegian utility Statkraft AS, announced on February 5 that it had successfully used blockchain technology to trade electricity in Germany.
In the US, on January 23, the Department of Energy announced its participation in a project that seeks to establish a peer-to-peer energy trading network that can settle transactions using blockchain technology. A few months prior, it had pledged funding for a different project, one which seeks to "develop blockchain cybersecurity technology to help secure distributed energy resources at the grid's edge."
In November 2017, the Dutch electricity company TenneT launched a pilot in partnership with residential energy storage firm sonnen. The project aims to reduce bottlenecks in energy provision with the help of a blockchain-integrated system linking the grid to home batteries.
In September 2017, the Australian energy retailer Origin announced its participation in a trial of an Ethereum-based system intended to support energy trading among neighbors.