- The Rocky Mountain Institute and Grid Singularity has launched the Energy Web (EW) Chain, the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector.
- More than 10 EWF Affiliates—including utilities, grid operators, and blockchain developers—are hosting validator nodes for the live network.
- In addition, EWF is currently tracking 17 decentralized applications (dApps) running on Energy Web test networks that are expected to transition to the live network over the coming weeks.
- This first wave of dApps focuses on creating customer and business value by expanding markets for renewable energy trading, increasing the effectiveness and depth of demand response programs, and streamlining electric vehicle charging.
In early 2017, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) partnered with European blockchain developer Grid Singularity to cofound the Energy Web Foundation (EWF).
Since then, EWF has unwaveringly focused on two major outcomes:
- a) build a blockchain platform specifically tailored to the performance and regulatory requirements of the energy sector, and
- b) foster a global ecosystem of utilities, grid operators, startups, regulators and other energy companies that would establish the network and serve as its early adopters.
Perhaps most-widely known as the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain is both a decentralized database and a decentralized computer. Its data management algorithms are extremely secure and difficult to cheat.
Through programs called “smart contracts,” it has the ability to automate both physical and financial settlement. And it can be designed to operate cheaply, decreasing the friction in markets with different-sized participants.
Blockchain-based approaches can be deployed to improve data integrity and transparency, streamline and automate back-office processes, reduce the financing and operating costs of distributed energy resources, and foster greater market access, especially for smaller players.
Electricity grids around the world are undergoing digitalization. They are also experiencing unprecedented decarbonization and decentralization. Low-carbon distributed energy resources such as solar PV, behind-the-meter battery energy storage, smart thermostats, electric vehicles, and a long list of other customer-centric technologies are fundamentally transforming electricity’s future. They are cheaper than ever before and are being adopted globally in record numbers. In other words, to reference an earlier work by our colleague, RMI founder and chief scientist, Amory Lovins, “Small has never been more profitable.”
Author: Bryan Groenendaal