The Spanish public energy company Iberdrola, a parent of US company Avangrid, has conducted a blockchain pilot in collaboration with Kutxabank to track renewable energy.
The "first experiment" used the Energy Web Foundation open-source blockchain platform, which was designed for the energy sector. The Ethereum-based chain launched in April 2018.
Iberdrola and Kutxabank are trialling blockchain to track energy supply from its point of generation to the final consumer, while confirming that the power source is 100 percent renewable. According to the press release, "This technology contributes to decarbonisation: it provides efficiency, flexibility, transparency and savings to the Guarantees of Origin (GoO) process."
The pilot tracked renewable energy generated by windfarms and a hydroelectricity plant in Spain. Kutxabank acted as the consumer for the trial, using the energy to power its Spanish headquarters.
Blockchain, says Iberdrola, "is an efficient way of allocating which assets will supply energy to a specific point of consumption, and can even be used to establish a hierarchy of priorities when it comes to sources of origin." Iberdrola also points to the blockchain's ability to eliminate "intermediaries" by delivering verifiable EDCCs (smart contracts) that simplify the process and reduce costs.
The energy company believes renewable energy certification processes can be both accelerated and automated with greater traceability, and with transparent, secure, and auditable, transactions.
Iberdrola also thinks blockchain could be a "crucial catalyst" for decarbonisation and to incentivise production and consumption of renewable energy.
Kuxtabank views the project as an opportunity "to keep advancing in the sustainability criteria" that guides its activity, and as a chance to minimize its environmental footprint.
Iberdrola added a "user-friendly" web environment to the Energy Web Foundation platform that allows customers to view data and identify the source of the energy they consume.
Iberdrola is also participating in a project to test blockchain-based transactions in wholesale energy and natural gas markets. The peer-to-peer project will allow "agents" to buy and sell energy directly, "and their transactions will be registered on the platform anonymously and in encrypted form to be verified by other operators." This project is likely to involve the Enerchain blockchain, a framework built by PONTON.
Can blockchains transform the global energy system? The World Energy Council thinks so. In its 2018 World Energy Insights Brief, the WEC said that although blockchain was in its infancy, it has the potential to "upend" the global energy system.