Yesterday, the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) announced that German energy storage systems provider sonnen Group is using its Energy Web Chain and EW Origin software suite for a virtual power plant (VPP) in the country.
A VPP is a network of decentralized and distributed power generating units such as wind farms, solar parks as well as storage systems. Sonnen’s VPP in northeastern Germany will leverage blockchain to absorb surplus wind generation by charging batteries. When more renewable energy is generated than needed, the waste is referred to as curtailment.
According to data from S&P Global, Germany curtailed 3.2 TWh (Terawatt-hour) of wind energy in 2019. In 2018, the country curtailed 5.4 TWh of renewables. In an environment when governments are trying to increase reliance on renewables, these figures are concerning.
Sonnen will leverage a blockchain application built using EW Origin to match forecasted wind energy oversupply with storage capacity at the VPP. Once the anticipated surplus energy is reported by the network operator, sonnen’s VPP will offer to absorb some of it and use EW Chain for the financial settlement. The solution will utilize EW Dai, a stablecoin on the Ethereum network.
The German battery systems provider is using a suite of software and technology from the EWF, called the Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS), an open-source stack of software and standards.
“EW-DOS focuses on two of the most important use cases for the world’s evolving electricity systems: enhancing renewable energy markets and leveraging distributed energy resources (DERs) to improve grid flexibility,” said Micha Roon, CTO of EWF.
Currently, distributed energy resources (DERs) such as electric vehicles, batteries, and smart appliances are not the focus of grid operators, likely due to the high cost. However, blockchain smart contracts simplify this process and can connect DERs to the central grid.
“With a flexibility market for renewable energies and the automatic exchange of supply and demand via the digital exchange ‘EW Origin,’ we are realising the next step towards a smart grid that can deal much more flexibly with fluctuations from renewable energy,” says Jean-Baptiste Cornefert, Managing Director of sonnen eServices.
EWF’s blockchain went live in June last year and has since onboarded some decentralized applications (dApp). French utility Engie’s blockchain startup The Energy Origin (TEO) was one of the first to migrate its dApp on the EW Chain.
EWF has over 100 affiliate members, including some high-profile firms like German utility EnBW, Total, GE, PG&E, Shell and Siemens, among many others.
Last year, Thai energy giant PTT said it is working with EWF to launch a blockchain-based renewables marketplace. More recently, Japanese utility Minna Denryoku (Minden) said it completed a blockchain trial for the renewables market with EWF.