The emergence of new blockchain platforms continues apace in the energy sector. Here we look at some recent activities which should cause investors to do ‘undue’ due intelligence when looking to place their funds.
Greeneum blockchain platform
First up is Greeneum, which grandly styles itself as “the world’s first blockchain-powered sustainable, scalable and secure energy and data trading platform”.
Greeneum is from the same team that launched SolarChange with the SolarCoin solar generation reward programme. While a complementary project, in essence, it appears to broaden and grow that earlier programme to other green energies including wind, hydro and thermal.
According to the organisation’s website, the Greeneum solution combines blockchain and artificial intelligence to provide a global data system and local energy trading system that records the production and trade of green energy on a global scale.
Like all blockchain platforms, core to the offering is their token. In Greeneum’s case, its GREEN token -via GREEN certificates - forms the basis of a clean energy generation reward programme and also can be used to support renewable projects or to trade energy products and services.
Key to the credibility of such platforms is energy sector endorsement and Greeneum reports two industry pilots in which its energy prediction software has been integrated with a distributed energy resource management system.
One is associated to a microgrid for a collective in Israel, where increased levels of solar PV were creating instability on neighbouring grids as power was exported to the national medium voltage grid. The second is for the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, which was facing constant grid management issues due to fluctuations in PV output.
Solareum develops marketplace
Another new kid on the energy blockchain block is the New York-based startup Solareum, a spin-off from the growing local solar supplier America Green Solar.
Solareum’s stated ambition is to become the “Amazon of renewables” with its value proposition the development of a marketplace – much like Greeneum – for the funding and buying and selling of both energy as well as renewable products and services such as PV and solar heating systems.
Information is limited on external support or industry activities, but its website reports that a Solareum mobile app is currently under development for both the Android and iOS systems. Its young chairman Ken Reece, a co-founder of America Green Solar, also was tapped as a guest speaker at the UN’s 2018 Youth Assembly.
Romania’s Hidroelectrica ‘restarts’
Romania is one of the ‘hotspots’ when it comes to blockchain for the energy sector. Eva Energy was one of the first suppliers to initiate bill payments in crypto-currencies. Its founder, Christian Hagmann, has now moved on to another startup, Bittwatt, which is currently running a token offering in which the first batch of tokens raised approximately $10.8m in less than five days.
Another company apparently making blockchain waves there is Restart Energy, which claims to be the fastest growing private supplier in the European Union with 1,700% increase in revenues in its first two years and boasting a customer base of 27,000 household and 3,000 corporate clients and growth of around 2,000 clients per month so far this year.
Restart Energy’s token sale earlier this year netted approximately $30m. Through its franchise system, to which access is gained via tokens, power enterprises are able to sell energy “in more than 35 deregulated markets globally”, according to Restart Energy’s Chief Editor Rouă Denis.
Some recent developments by the company include the acquisition of six solar parks in Romania with a combined production capacity of over 47GWh per year and power purchase agreements with hydroelectric producer Hidropod for two plants with combined capacity of 22.4GWh per year.
The latest is a partnership with Romania’s largest hydro company Hidroelectrica SA, although how much of the 17TWh output will be accessed has not been revealed.
Irene Energy adopts Stellar
Another company adopting a supplier approach to blockchain is the French startup Irene Energy, which is also notable as being among the latest adopters of Stellar (XLM) as an alternative to Ethereum as the technology platform of choice.
According to Irene Energy’s white paper, its business model seeks to mimic Airbnb’s by “building a demand portfolio of savvy, price-sensitive and eco-aware consumers ‘poached’ from mainstream suppliers and a decentralised, capex-free supply portfolio of power generation attracted by marketing and local corporate image value propositions”.
The company states the biggest value of blockchain to be improving settlement operations in commodity trading. As such, it claims the Stellar blockchain, an open-licence software, as the “natural choice”, citing speed, scalability, cost, security and environmental advantages over other solutions such as Ethereum.
Currently Irene Energy has a token sale underway prior to planned launches in Europe, in particular France and the UK, in late-2018 and the US in early-2019.
According to the white paper, the first producer has been secured in France on the production side – an independent currently operating around 120MW of wind capacity and with another 50MW in development. On the consumption side, a partnership has been secured to become the default electricity supplier of a company specialising in connecting and managing smart buildings and microgrids. Irene Energy also reports preliminary talks being held with large residential property managers and some French municipalities.
Energo advances clean energy in the Philippines
Last up in this round-up and moving into Asia, clean energy and blockchain in the Philippines are in line for a boost with the implementation by community energy developer Energo Labs of Qtum Foundation’s platform for energy trading in local microgrids.
The deployment, which was implemented with clean energy producer First Gen, is part of the campus microgrid project at the De La Salle University in Manila. According to Qtum, this is a first of its kind for the platform, which Energo also anticipates being deployed to accelerate power reform in off-grid and other remote areas.
In the De La Salle project, users are able to conduct peer-to-peer transactions between buildings with the system ensuring that the supply and consumption of electricity in the buildings remain balanced.
Singapore-headquartered Qtum claims more than 50 decentralised applications deployed on its platform across a range of sectors. In February, Qtum announced its intention also to launch its technology into space aboard a satellite in order to provide cost-effective proof-of-stake mining to mobile users.