Project targets nationwide tokenization of Estonian grid through blockchain

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In a world first, energy digitalization company WePower, in partnership with Estonian transmission system operator Elering have tokenized the Estonian energy system on a nationwide scale. According to the announcement, the two project partners have converted an entire year of Estonian consumption and production data onto an Ethereum blockchain.

The process resulted in 26,000 hours, and 24 TWh of energy production and consumption data turned into 38,973,240,000 Smart Energy Tokens. According to the company, currently existing financial and legal instruments to facilitate the energy transition, such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) are too complex and too expensive. WePower holds that through its next-generation green energy procurement and trading platform it could cut processing times for such projects from around a year to just minutes.

WePower also highlighted that magnitude of the achievement. On the one hand, it would enable a faster energy transition, as a broader base of participants can now enter the virtual PPA market. Through the simplified processes and allowing for offtakes of shares as little as 0.1%, all companies regardless of size could now turn to green energy through PPAs. On the other hand, the project required a substantial amount of tinkering to be able to process the data set volume on currently available blockchain platforms.

The Estfeed data exchange platform facilitates secure and authorized access to energy consumption and production data through enabling customers, distributed generators and network operators to choose whom to share their data with via the online platform e-Elering.

“Future clean and secure energy will depend on innovative solutions and consumer empowerment. However, a major barrier in most countries is the lack of access to energy data,” says Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Elering. “Estfeed unlocks data access within Estonia, and we are now working towards doing this on an international level. WePower’s proof of concept is important for showing how data access leads to innovation.”

WePower uses the Ethereum blockchain, citing that its maturity provides sufficient stability to for multi-year term energy contracts.  While there are other blockchains that could have been used, their infancy would allegedly be of concern regarding the typical duration of energy contracts.

While the hybrid platform can operate at competitive costs at the current scale, WePower does caution in its report that for a scale-up other blockchain/DLT solutions have to be identified to process the larger dataset. Reportedly, if the data set was not optimized, storing the 6.132 billion data points would have taken 14 years and cost €210 million.

“Projects of this scale and ambition haven’t been attempted before, in part because of the complexity involved, but also because energy data is highly sensitive. Blockchain is the ideal enabler because its foundational principle is trust, which can be leveraged to bring revolutionary transparency to the industry. The project will deepen our understanding of blockchain as a means to share data, paving the way for much needed innovation in the energy industry,” said Kaspar Kaarlep, CTO of WePower

On the terms of data security, WePower holds that the data provided by Elering comprises hourly consumption data from all meter points. These meter points are then aggregated into groups determined by postcode. This would render it impossible to obtain individual data, while at the same time provide sufficient granularity to make the system work.