On Monday Acciona, the Spanish renewable energy company announced plans to extend blockchain traceability to its renewable generation globally. The purpose is for clients to be able to verify that the energy provided is clean.
Acciona is a major Spanish renewable energy player. While it has the biggest presence in wind, it also has major solar installations, hydro, biomass and concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities. In 2017 it produced more than 20GWh of clean energy enough for 6 million homes. Its 2017 revenue was more than Euro 1.7 billion. Although the majority of its facilities are in Spain, it’s also active in 20 other countries.
Acciona’s GREENCHAIN project is in association with startup FlexiDAO using the Energy Web Foundation’s blockchain. The latter is a permissioned version of Ethereum adapted for the energy sector. One of the benefits is it’s relatively easy to integrate. Overall they see the advantages as ease of access, scalability, and security and privacy of the data.
The companies developed a pilot to enable traceability or provenance for power from five wind and hydro facilities supplied to four clients in Portugal.
This isn’t Acciona’s first foray into blockchain. Previously it used blockchain for two renewable plants with energy storage from wind and solar in Navarra Spain. Because that related to battery storage it’s referred to as the STORECHAIN project.
The plan is to expand the GREENCHAIN pilot, especially to areas that don’t have renewable energy certification systems.
Certification means when a renewable energy provider supplies energy to the grid they get a renewable energy certificate (REC). But the power generally is not traceable as it mixes in with other sources. Companies can buy and ‘retire’ (remove from circulation) RECs to prove to governments and consumers that they are abiding by any clean-power regulations and are environmentally friendly.
In the case of Acciona, they see Latin America as an opportunity because of the lack of certification systems, and they have a presence in Mexico and Chile.
“Tracing the renewable origin of energy is an ever-increasing demand, associated with the growth of the corporate contracting market for green energy, and blockchain technology can facilitate this service considerably to clients in any part of the world,” said Belén Linares, Director of Innovation of Acciona.
There are numerous renewable energy blockchain projects around the world. Singapore SP Group has launched one of the world’s first blockchain REC marketplaces. Nevada is exploring blockchain for its certification system. In Japan, four major organizations including Unisys are working on a blockchain trading system for prosumers. And Power Ledger recently started a trial with Australian shopping center operator Vicinity.