Author: Leoncio Montemayor, Solarplaza
Blockchain2Energy Asia (Nov 27, Singapore) is just around the corner! In light of this event, we are publishing our own top 10 energy and blockchain projects in Asia. Learn more about these and other projects by registering today to the conference!
Note: This list is not exhaustive and it is based on public information. If you have any comments, please contact [email protected]
We start off our top ten with this study conducted by four major companies in Japan on how to use and leverage on blockchain in a distributed energy supply. The goal of the project is explore how solar power suppliers could sell extra electricity to consumers via a blockchain-enabled system. Each participant will serve a unique role. Mitsubishi UFJ bank will advise on blockchain with regards to payments and transaction. Nihon Unisys will develop the application. Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) will be in charge of constructing the project and trialing it with their customers. The University of Tokyo will then report and summarize the research done.
South Pole, a leading provider of sustainability financing solutions and services, is partnering with the blockchain developer ixo Foundation and certification body Gold Standard for a blockchain-based application that can monitor, verify and report on greenhouse gas inventories and the origination of carbon credits.
This project will be applied on a solar PV project in Thailand which is owned by Siam Solar Energy and registered under Gold Standard. The project aims to use blockchain as an official and more efficient way of submitting verified data and issuing carbon credits, with the standards in place. This project could reduce costs tenfold in relation to current practices.
Similar in nature to the above one, Chinese car manufacturer BYD is releasing a Carbon Credit app alongside blockchain company VeChain and DNV GL. The objective of the app is to reduce carbon emissions in new vehicles by capturing data on a blockchain. Data such as mileage, fuel consumption, and electricity consumption will be recorded on a blockchain that will then issue carbon credits through smart contracts. These credits can then be exchanged for other products of value. This project has important implications as BYD is the world’s top manufacturer of plug-in EVs, with China being the top market. The eventual electrification of the mobility sector presents important challenges to energy grid operators everywhere in the world.
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO - different from the other KEPCO) and South Korea’s Science Ministry will be trialing a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading system in two apartments in Seoul and nine buildings within KEPCO’s facilities. The aim of the project is to lower energy bills by enabling businesses and households to buy surplus electricity of their peers. This project is highly relevant as it involves the largest electrical utility in South Korea with the possibility to expand.
The city of Chuncheon in South Korea is partnering with Swytch, a US-based blockchain startup, in order to test Swytch’s blockchain platform for the reduction of carbon emissions in the city. Swytch is a platform that uses blockchain, AI and machine learning to keep track of the carbon impacts of different energy generation techniques and sustainable actions. Depending on the activity, the platform rewards tokens that can then be used to trade for other goods and services. The scale of the project is what it makes it so special; it is working with an entire city. If proven successful, this model could then be replicated in many other cities in order to improve emissions and drive sustainability with blockchain.
Although little detailed information is publicly available, the State Grid Corporation of China, a state-owned utility, is looking into blockchain to enable an “Internet of Energy” which will allow it to store and track information in a decentralized manner. This information, according to the patent, pertains to the consumer’s electricity consumption and generation and will make it easier to share the data and to facilitate data tracking on future IoT-enabled devices. This will lower the costs that involve in handling large amounts of data and with a higher risk of security breaches as opposed to a centralized service.
SP Group, the power grid operator in Singapore, is using blockchain technology to link small producers of solar energy with businesses that want to reduce their carbon footprint or have a mandate to use green power. The Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) would be issued by the blockchain application. This platform is expected to be launched by the end of 2018. This system is being built in-house and will allow small producers to register their energy with renewable energy certificates. Companies can then use this platform to offset their emissions. The revenue plans are yet to be determined. Because the platform is trading RECs and not energy per se, it does not need the approval of the energy regulator. This project has the potential to completely eliminate doubling counting in the certification process and reduce costs when buying or selling solar energy.
Electron, a blockchain startup in UK, will test their own energy flexibility trading platform in South Korea. This will be alongside local partner GridWiz who will provide some of the assets that can trade. This project will be funded by the UK’s Government Department of Business Education, Innovation and Skills (BEIS) with £430,081. This was awarded to Electron as part of a UK-South Korea Smart Energy Innovation Collaboration competition. The Imperial College of London will be supporting the project as well with research on the benefits of distributed energy. This is an exciting project as it can prove the benefits of flexibility trading in the South Korean market as it starts to decarbonize and decentralize.
With the upcoming liberalization that is set to happen in November in Singapore, Electrify will soon be able to test their blockchain-based Marketplace 2.0. The current Energy Marketplace produces retail contracts between suppliers and consumers after documentation and information are provided to the system. However, Marketplace 2.0 offers to unlock the power of blockchain by using smart contracts where consumers can buy electricity from retailers or even from their own peers. The idea is that blockchain will eliminate or reduce many of the fees and transactions costs with the automatic nature of smart contracts. All this data will be uploaded and logged on Electrify’s own “PowerPods”.
This project has the potential to rethink how energy markets are formed in Asia, as more and more electricity markets in the region start on the path towards liberalization.
This project was announced in August 2018 where blockchain startup Power Ledger and Thailand’s state utility BCPG will test peer-to-peer energy trading through Power Ledger’s platform. This will be done in Bangkok’s T77 precint which includes several participants: a shopping center, an international school, some apartments and a dental hospital. This is particularly interesting because different participants will have different load profiles, compared to the more common housing peer-to-peer energy trading projects.
The main idea of the project is that will aim to demonstrate that lower-cost energy systems can be provided for communities with a peer-to-peer energy trading setup where customers can sell excess energy to their peers.
Almost 635 kW of solar PV will be traded, which will make it one of the biggest (if not biggest) blockchain-based energy trading projects out there. This will be done “across the meter” as the Metropolitan Electricity Authority will allow access to the grid for the physical transaction of energy between participants. The idea is that if it’s proven successful, this project will be deployed in other regions with a capacity of 2 MW.
This project tops the list because it is the first-of-its-kind in Asia. It also includes the promising partnership of BCPG with Power Ledger with the possibility to quickly expand in the coming years. The results of this can be promising for the whole energy-blockchain community as a peer-to-peer energy-trading project with the local utility can be a great stepping stone in the development of blockchain-energy applications.
Something to keep an eye on during this project is the role of the grid operator. For this, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is planning to ask independent solar power producers (those who sell excess energy) for a fee to contain the impact of a surge of blockchain-based trading on the grid. EGAT is expecting that they will still have to compensate the offset of revenue-generating activities (due to the trading) with the costs they have to incur for maintaining the operation and security of the grid. What would be a fair fee? There is no information on the level of this fee.
Disagree with the top 10? Let me know your suggestions: [email protected]