Blockchain technology has the potential to sustainably change the energy sector. Wien Energie has already carried out real energy transactions using this technology and is now testing the comprehensive application in the urban development area VIERTEL ZWEI.
Wien Energie is actively researching the use of blockchain technology for the decentralized, uncomplicated handling of transactions in the energy industry. At the beginning of 2017, a pilot project for gas trading was carried out together with the oil companies BP and Eni, the business consultant Ernst & Young and the blockchain start-up BTL.
Normally, trading energy, such as electricity and gas, is a complex process. Transactions agreed upon between suppliers and buyers must be entered in a timetable system, they must be notified to special clearing houses (balance group coordinators), transmission system operators (such as Austrian Power Grid) and the regulatory authority E-Control. With the help of a new platform called Enerchain all bureaucratic intermediate steps can be eliminated. Enerchain has been developed jointly by 33 companies, including Wien Energie. The platform for energy trading with blockchain was implemented by the German software company Ponton.
The aim of the pilot project was to build up know-how for the blockchain technology together with the partners and to test the new technology for its opportunities and advantages. By means of different experimental arrangements with the technology, new insights into the use of blockchain in the energy business are to be gained or possible process optimization and cost savings are to be explored.
First real gas trade carried out with blockchain technology
At the gas trader conference Emart, the first real gas trade with blockchain was carried out in Amsterdam in October 2017. Wien Energie purchased from a Danish supplier via the blockchain-based trading platform Enerchain Gas. The supplier delivered the following day. For test purposes energy transactions have already been carried out on Enerchain, Wien Energie was the first company to use the platform for a real business transaction, which caused a stir internationally.
Innovation project: district with blockchain infrastructure
As part of the “Urban Pioneers Community” innovation project in the urban development area “VIERTEL ZWEI”, Wien Energie will work together with Austrian digitalisation experts Riddle & Code to create a blockchain infrastructure at such a scale for the first time. The project started at the end of January 2018 with the active involvement of the residents of VIERTEL ZWEI.
The aim of the project is to make customers partners in the process of product development. For example, innovative energy tariffs, which have not been on the market before or new solar power models, are being tested. All this in connection with new technologies like blockchain. Ideas that prove themselves in practice could then be rolled out to other neighbourhoods as well.
Through the pilot project an end-to-end solution for blockchain systems in the e-economy is tested for the first time. Blockchain hardware, such as nodes and wallets, is to be integrated into existing energy infrastructure. This makes it possible to harmonize the services of all applications such as photovoltaic systems, electromobility and storage. Wien Energie has the opportunity to develop new business models and test solutions. Among other things, it examines how new electricity tariff models that use blockchain technology and are based on smart meters work from a customer’s point of view.
An example: An e-charging station in the VIERTEL ZWEI area can then use a computer protocol on the blockchain and automated contracts to obtain power from both the photovoltaic systems that are situated in VIERTEL ZWEI as well as from the central energy trading market in Leipzig and put the energy on the market for an electric car and thus charge it.
The project is designed to last three to five years.
Wien Energie GmbH
This post is also available in: German