With the expansion of renewable energy options, blockchain technology may provide a secure method to record green energy economy data. Silicon Valley Power and Power Ledger, with North American collaborator Clean Energy Blockchain Network, are working on a proof of concept blockchain project to simplify the process of tracking and earning California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits.
The parties will monitor energy production and usage at a Santa Clara parking structure. The six-story structure includes 49 charging stations: 48 level 2 chargers, which allow for a wide range of charging speeds, and one DC fast charger. They will then record the EV charging transactions using Power Ledger's blockchain platform.
Under the LCFS program, overseen by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), EV owners and charging station operators (such as Silicon Valley Power) can generate credits for the use of low-carbon energy. A blockchain-based record of EV charging transactions could mitigate the potential challenges, such as administrative burdens and accounting mishaps, of earning and selling credits through the LCFS program.
"The Low Carbon Fuel Standard as administered by CARB is currently a pretty onerous process," said Rick Kubin, vice president of the Clean Energy Blockchain Network, according to Greentech Media. Kubin added that the program's accounting process is "managed via spreadsheets, and it's only reconciled once a quarter." The potential for mistakes throughout the program's administration could expose earners and sellers of energy credits to risk.
Power Ledger's platform will consolidate the data required to calculate a unit of EV charging value and represent that data as an LCFS credit – all while the information remains secure and transparent. The credit will take the form of a digital token, ascribing value to the use of clean energy.
Additionally, recording data through blockchain technology could allow Silicon Valley Power and other utilities to track the amount of EV charging energy that comes from clean sources. The energy source is important because CARB is looking to create an "enhanced" credit, one that would offer a percentage increase in the credit's value. The LCFS program does not currently distinguish between different EV charging energy sources.
Power Ledger has tested blockchain technology as an energy solution with organizations in Australia and around the world. In April, Power Ledger partnered with Kansai Electric Power Company to trial peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading. Last year, ETHNews reported that the company worked with Origin, a large energy retailer in Australia, to test another P2P energy trading system. Power Ledger has been implementing blockchain technology into projects since at least August 2016.