Author: Marco Dorothal, Solarplaza
Spectral, a smart energy company based in Amsterdam, and Alliander, one of the largest electric grid operators in the Netherlands, chose the experimental innovation community at De Ceuvel to launch Jouliette, because the site features a private renewable energy-based smart-grid, making it independent from the centralized grid. This enables the community to exchange renewable energy produced by their solar PV panels, without any restrictions, and therefore avoiding existing market barriers
“The Jouliette and its associated broader applications represents an important step forward towards realizing a local, circular, resource-based economy. We’re excited to launch it at De Ceuvel, which has become a globally visible showcase for sustainable urban development and a hub for cleantech innovation. In the coming months, the De Ceuvel community will be experimenting with the Jouliette in practice, and engaging in a number of user experience design sessions to take the platform to the next level, together with the system developers. We are looking forward to taking this idea forward and helping it scale up across the wider Buiksloterham community and beyond, to realise its full potential.”
- Philip Gladek, CEO of Spectral
In the current energy market, energy suppliers receive data from a (smart) meter in order to analyze energy consumption and create an invoice for the customer. Once the invoice has been issued, the customers can proceed to pay the bill via a monetary transaction, usually from one bank to another. However, with the use of the Jouliette token, members of De Ceuvel are able to make secure peer-to-peer transactions directly using virtual currency. Because the token uses blockchain technology, the transactions are completely safe and decentralized. Blockchain technology, the technology most famous for powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, distributes the history of all transactions with all of the community members to make sure that the transactions can be verified. This allows for the transactions to be automatically verified without the need of a bank or an intermediary.
Unlike purely speculative currencies, the Jouliette tokens are backed up by physical energy production, allowing members of De Ceuvel to easily manage their own micro-economy. As a result, potential applications for the new token are being explored, for instance, using the token for the trade of goods or to facilitate a local time-banking system. The platform also allows for the integration of other intra-community services, such as, for example, a car-sharing program. Additionally, the platform features a real-time power-flow map of the community, high-resolution data visualizations, and machine-learning forecasting systems, which provide users with greater insights into their real-time energy use and projected production/consumption.
“In general society looks at big solutions when it comes to the transition towards a renewable energy system, like underground CO2 storage and big offshore wind farms. That makes the energy transition intangible, expensive and out of reach for many people. We want a cost neutral acceleration in the renewable transition, and perhaps even one with a cost reduction. But then we need a decentralized model which facilitates greater local interaction and incentivizes direct peer to peer exchange of renewable energy. We look forward to exploring how concepts like the Jouliette can help lead the transition we need to see.”
-Pallas Agterberg, Strategy Director at Alliander