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“The future of our energy system is distributed. Made up of billions of endpoints interacting with each other — microgrids, renewable energy, smart buildings, appliances, sensors and energy management software. It is essential to create a secure system that can verify autonomous transactions in real-time across these nodes as market conditions change,” we said in an article entitled ‘Blockchain and the Energy System of the Future’.
“The energy system of the future demands the ability to trace, track and record interactions reliably, in real-time. Blockchain technologies allow exchanges to occur immediately, transparently and reliably without centralized authorization, and are immune to alteration by fraud. The energy system of the future is emerging now, and the addition of blockchain technologies cannot come soon enough,” we continued. Today, almost exactly one year on from that article, we can talk about a groundbreaking blockchain energy project taking shape.
Elering AS, an independent electricity and gas system operator in Estonia, and WePower, a blockchain based green energy trading platform that hopes to drive global green energy adoption for sustainable living, have announced a pilot project to test the large scale tokenization of Energy data on the blockchain in Estonia.
This project is the first of its kind in Europe and will pave the way for a future practical test that will connect European green energy producers to the Estonian Smart Grid. WePower will integrate its blockchain and smart contract powered green energy trading platform into Elering’s Estfeed data exchange platform. This will form a proof-of-concept system for Estonia, demonstrating nation-state scale tokenization of energy consumption and production data on the blockchain.
“Elering’s motivation in this project as a transmission system operator is to enable energy innovation by removing market barriers. For that purpose we have built the Estfeed data exchange platform, which enables people to share their energy meter data with new service providers. WePower is a great example of the potential of innovation in the energy sector that can be unleashed by transparent data access,” said Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Elering.
The project will be one of the most significant steps yet, towards a global blockchain powered energy trading. It has the potential to make energy trading accessible to prosumers of all sizes and configurations, providing the “missing link to a decentralized, completely CO2-free energy future,” as discussed in our article last May. But why is this all happening in Estonia, some readers may be asking?
In fact, Estonia is considered by many as the most advanced digital nation in the world. Microsoft dubbed Estonia as “Silicon Valley with a moat” after Skype was created in the Baltic nation almost 15 years ago, a project that triggered the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) movement.
From an energy perspective, Estonia achieved 100% smart meter coverage for residential properties in January of 2017, an impressive feat and vital to demonstrating a full scale blockchain energy system. Furthermore, Estonia already uses a distributed ledger, the concept behind blockchain, to provide every citizen and resident with a secure digital identity and it has become the first nation to offer virtual citizenship.
Last but not least, Estonia is in the European Union (EU), a crucial element when showcasing a system designed to meet future EU Cross-border regulations. Success in Estonia would mean a much more straightforward transition into a Europe-wide energy platform. While a successful European blockchain energy system would open the door to global initiatives that could change the face of energy.
WePower will be able to leverage Estonia’s existing advanced smart grid infrastructure, benefiting from the 100% smart meter coverage with hourly reading and a central data hub. The small but advanced nation provides the ideal technical conditions to test the true scalability for tokenized asset trading technology and provide a stronger bridge between green energy producers and traditional grid operators.
“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Elering AS, as it is the first step in our goals of making the smart grid greener,” said Nick Martyniuk, Co-Founder and CEO of WePower. “Estonia is the perfect country to start with, as it already has an existing advanced smart grid infrastructure that we can integrate out technology into. This partnership is an excellent use-case to show the viability of blockchain technology in the green energy space, and marks a huge achievement towards creating a global blockchain powered energy trading network.”