A decade since blockchain burst onto the scene—in the form of Bitcoin and as a response to the global financial crisis—we are now witnessing the emergence of use cases that go beyond Satoshi Nakamoto’s wildest dreams. From identity management to data storage to adult entertainment, the possibilities are still far from being exhausted.
An area in which blockchain can really thrive and give things a much-needed jolt is the energy sector. In fact, one could argue that energy is the most important application of the technology. Electrify sees the opportunities and is diving in head-first.
An idea of a modern power grid by Electrify.Asia
What solutions will Electrify deliver?
Electrify offers a retail electricity marketplace that allows commercial and residential consumers to find the best power plans for their needs. Synergy, Electrify’s peer-to-peer (P2P) trading platform, lets producers and consumers directly transact renewable energy with each other through the main grid. Leveraging blockchain and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology, the platform enables near-instant and simultaneous settlement of large volumes of trades. Consumers can buy renewable energy at a cheaper rate from peers with surplus production while producers can earn stable revenue and reduce electricity cost. Together, Electrify’s marketplace and trading platform will enhance the energy industry by providing greater transparency for producers and consumers and reducing barriers to clean energy adoption.
Julius Tan, CEO, Electrify.Asia
Julius spent three years in the Singapore energy market, as a Research Engineer at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (an institute at the National University of Singapore), thereafter moving on as an energy trader and Head of the Energy department at a clean energy retailer in Singapore. Over the course of 24 months, he set up and grew it into of the largest independent retailers. Looking ahead, Julius and team aim to build Electrify.sg to offer a seamless and engaging experience for customers and thereby unlock value for both consumers and retailers.
Julius has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cambridge. He previously worked at the Singapore Economic Development Board (Cleantech), Standard Chartered Bank (Global Transactional Banking), and Schlumberger.
BLOCKCHAIN USE CASES IN ENERGY
Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading
Synergy enables the direct communication and supply of energy between producers and consumers in a P2P network. Consumers can purchase electricity by selecting providers directly from an online marketplace or they can automate trading by executing smart contracts that take into account their electricity preferences. Once these transactions are made, they are stored on the blockchain immutably and energy is delivered through the grid. The seamless and third-party-free matching of consumers and producers will lead to fairer prices across the board and ultimately incentivize renewable energy production in households (e.g. rooftop solar PV, small-scale wind turbines).
Payments and Transactions
Keeping track of payments and transactions is essential for any business. Presently, the settlement process of business transactions—from registration to verification—may take anywhere from several hours to several days to complete, involving third parties such as lawyers and government bodies. With blockchain, transaction verification is near-instant and permanent. The digital ledger is distributed securely and immutably across several nodes, removing the need for third-party verification. When a transaction is executed, details such as price, asset, and ownership are recorded, verified, and settled within seconds. Electrify aims to help energy suppliers manage their credit risk by enabling automatic and secure payments through an eWallet, which will be used to facilitate payments via smart contracts.
Martin Lim, COO, Electrify.Asia
A perpetual problem solver, ideas-generator and new business connector, he has transformed idealistic start-ups into newsworthy, profitable businesses as the lead in corporate planning, business development and consolidation, for more than a decade.
His interest in energy and water led him to co-found Arteton Sdn Bhd to develop water treatment systems for disaster relief in the region.
With his latest venture, ELECTRIFY.SG, he and his partner, Julius Tan, plan to intend to ignite the electricity retail industry by creating a retail marketplace and simplifying the entire electricity purchasing process. Their marketplace is powered by Fibonacci, our proprietary electricity pricing engine that enables retailers to offer dynamic prices to end-users.
They have also developed Synergy, the first P2P energy trading platform for utility-grids powered by blockchain and able to empower individuals to trade their surplus energy across a city-wide power grid. Currently being trialed in Singapore, commercial trial in Japan are slated for 2019.
Metering with IoT Devices
Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices are communication platforms that can relay information wirelessly to a network. Integrating them with conventional smart meters allows for the collection of energy consumption and production data. The data may then be broadcast to the blockchain network for verification and secure storage. All parties have access to this data; producers and prosumers may use it to track their energy generation for billing while consumers can benefit from a better understanding of their consumption patterns. Electrify’s PowerPod is one such device capable of logging the amount of power used and produced; linking it to the blockchain will increase data transparency and metering efficiency, ultimately creating cost savings for all. PowerPod is equipped with WiFi, 3G, and 4G connectivity. In our partnership with Streamr, the blockchain-based data marketplace, Electrify participants will have the ability to monetize and sell their energy consumption and generation data.
Charging up and Forward
Past all the hype, the blockchain is, at its heart, an inclusive technology with the potential to introduce greater liquidity into energy markets and democratize energy production and consumption. It does not only serve the energy incumbents but also brings into the fold small scale producers and consumers, equipping them with utility-level trading tools that were previously not accessible to them, allowing them to participate in a system of energy exchange that they would typically be excluded from. In the long run, this has strong implications for the sharing economy and sustainable consumption.
Electrify is excited to be a part of this vision to empower producers and consumers as well as contribute to meaningful change in the energy space. Having recently secured a strategic investment with TEPCO, Japan’s largest utility company, to accelerate the development of Synergy and adapt the technology for regional markets, we are now moving forward with the full deployment of Synergy Alpha in Singapore.
To take part in our Synergy Beta, whether as a producer or a consumer, visit electrify.sg/content/synergy-sg.