Electricity from the neighbourhood: Axpo launches a blockchain model for renewable energies
20.11.2017 - Simply order eco-friendly electricity from the neighbour's photovoltaic system, or from the local farmer's biogas plant, or from the local windmill operator: Together with the Wupper-taler Stadtwerke (WSW) in Germany, Axpo is putting this vision into practice under the name Elblox. With the help of blockchain technology, WSW customers can put together their own power mix digitally. In turn, regional operators of solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants have the opportunity to sell their produced electricity directly to end customers.
The age of digitalisation is transforming the international energy market. Blockchain technology, in particular, has changed business models. It could make today's value chain involving several business and process steps between the power producer and the consumer obsolete, or enhance it with new models. The future outcome: Electricity could be ordered directly from the producer. The concept for the platform was developed in 2015 by a team of Axpo Group experts and successfuly tested in the lab in 2016. As the largest producer of renewable energies in Switzerland and a leading European power trader, Axpo is at the forefront in actively shaping the change.
Individualised, renewable power mix with just a few clicks
Elblox operates a blockchain-based peer-to-peer platform for the personalised marketing of electricity between decentralised renewable energy producers and potential consumers. Electricity consumers can select among numerous regional power producers and put together an individual power portfolio on Elblox's digital trading platform. The platform offers local power producers a new sales channel where they can sell their electricity directly to end customers.
The platform stores all the information concerning production, consumption and the contractual relationships between the platform participants. The blockcahin ensures that the production and marketing data for each plant is recorded. As a result, every produced kWh can be clearly assigned to a consumer, and in turn, the certificate of origin is guaranteed.
Digital marketplace supports power producers to new market role
The Elblox platform enables distributors, such as regional power utilities, to establish a digital local marketplace for regionally produced electricity, and customers can put together their own power mix. Together with WSW, Axpo is taking the Elblox platform to market maturity. Households in Wuppertal can procure their energy on the first blockchain trading platform for green electricity. The traded power comes exclusively from regional renewable energy sources and all the processes run on the Elblox platform. WSW is the link between producers and consumers, and is responsible for efficient transaction settlement such as accounting, invoicing or failed deliveries when there is no sun or wind.
Christoph Sutter, Head of New Energies at Axpo, explains: "The German market is particularly well suited for the Elblox market entry because liberalisation is very advanced in Germany. We begin the journey with the new Elblox platform: In the future, power consumers will establish themselves as equal energy partners with power producers and suppliers. The results of this collaboration with WSW will be used for the further development of Elblox. The Elblox platform has the potential of becoming a leading marketplace for personalised renewable energy in Europe."
Win-win for all
The platform offers great advantages: In the best case, the customer knows the power producer personally because it is the neighbour with a photovoltaic system, the local farmer with a biogas plant, or a local wind power initiative. This proximity and the possibility of putting together a personalised power mix should be attractive to customers – and ensure that power producers can generate higher revenues on the market. WSW CEO Andreas Feicht is certain: “The concept has the potential to revolutionise the sale of electricity."
Elblox and the regional power suppliers will also profit: The revenues generated from user fees are split between producers and consumers. Furthermore, Elblox generates additional income with residual power management – hence fitting perfectly into the Axpo strategy to develop new business fields and generate additional income.
More information: www.elblox.com
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