Electron, a blockchain-based startup out of UK, is innovating in the energy sector for enabling the energy creators (such as micro-grids and mini-grids) to trade energy with those requiring energy while ensuring data security, transparency and traceability/provenance. The company has got experts from the areas of blockchain energy and e-trading coming together and building innovative products for achieving some of the following objectives in relation to energy creation and trading:
- Decentralization: The idea is that Energy production and distribution should no longer be limited to the large enterprises (especially government ones). Given the ease with which one can generate renewable energy sources such as sun and wind, one should be able to distribute surplus energy in his/her locality. This is where Electron fits in with their product (developed on permissioned Blockchain platform) related to meter registration and transparent and secured energy trading.
- Digitisation: The data related to energy production and distribution should be able to be digitized and made accessible by all stakeholders. One should also be able to easily trace back (provenance) the energy transactions. This is where blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) comes into the picture.
- Democratization: Anyone and everyone having a surplus of energy should be able to distribute the energy in his/her locality.
- Decarbonisation: Electron platform promotes usage of renewable energy sources for fulfilling energy requirements thereby leading to decarbonization.
Very recently, Japanese energy giant, TEPCO has invested in Electron to explore the usage of Blockchain technology to create more reliable and efficient use of infrastructure.
In this post, you will learn about the technology behind the products built by electron team.
Meter Registration Platform
Meter registration platform allows devices to be registered and provided with a digital identity. This information about the device is stored on a shared distributed ledger based on the blockchain technology. Anyone wanting to get information about a particular device can easily access the details from the blockchain.
This is also one of the key aspects of permissioned blockchain platform based on which Electron product is developed. In a permissioned blockchain platform, each of the participants needs to have a digital identity (certificates) using which it can trade energy with others or get information about energy consumption.
Energy Trading Platform
Once the meta devices are registered on the blockchain and known by their own identity the next step is to allow the trading of energy between different retail energy providers. This is where the permission blockchain architecture based distributed ledger would come into the picture. The permissioned blockchain would ensure some of the following:
- Only allowed entities (with membership certificates/digital identities) would participate in the energy trading on the blockchain
- The blockchain could have multiple sub-blockchain to allow private channels to be created such that energy traders could have the required privacy when buying and selling energy to the different kind of consumers. A permissioned blockchain platform such as hyperledger fabric would meet the requirements of supporting multiple channels.
Smart Metre Data Privacy
Finally, there will be a need to secure the data related to the energy transactions related to buying and selling the energy between the energy providers and the consumers. There will also be a need for transparency and provenance/traceability of energy transactions. The goal is to ensure that the data of the past usage is not changed by anyone (data immutability) and all changes can be tracked and traced back. This requirement is also fulfilled by the blockchain Technology.
Technologies which could be used to create Electron like platform?
- A permissioned blockchain framework such as Hyperledger Fabric which supports all of the requirements fulfilled by Electron
- Blockchain developers who could create permissioned blockchain using framework such as Hyperledger Fabric
- One or more web applications which interact with blockchain platform
- Web developers who could create web/mobile apps which could interact with Blockchain using APIs.
- Machine learning models for predicting/classifying energy usage
- AI experts who could build prediction models for predicting/classifying energy usage and serve the customers in better manner.
- Big Data solutions to crunch the large volume of data which gets generated as a result of energy trading transactions, and create useful reports (descriptive)
- IOT solutions for managing data generated from smart devices (meters)
- Cloud-enabled platform for gathering data from different sources and also manage growth and scalability of the platform.
In this post, you learned about some of the following:
- Details related to Electron products
- How permissioned blockchain is required for creating platforms such as Electron
- Details on frameworks such as Hyperledger Fabric which could be used for building such permissioned blockchain platform.
Did you find this article useful? Do you have any questions about this article or suggestions regarding how Electron is innovating energy sector with their blockchain based products? Leave a comment and ask your questions and I shall do my best to address your queries.
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