Energy giant Schneider Electric, which is one of the leading microgrid development companies, has teamed up with a global provider of decentralized energy systems Arensis, to develop a blockchain microgrid pilot project.
As part of the partnership, the two firms will work together to develop a blockchain Application Programming Interface (API) for ENTRADE IO, a newly-formed company founded by the CEO of Arensis, Julien Uhlig. The ENTRADE energy trading platform is designed to enable the sale of renewable energy in remote areas of the world and to support off-grid project financing.
Blockchain Microgrid Platform to Launch in North America
The goal of the blockchain microgrid pilot is to explore integrated renewable energy solutions using resources to build, monitor and operate the systems through augmented reality (AR). It will also focus on ensuring that microgrid controls can communicate successfully with the API. The joint development of the smart microgrid systems will launch in North America but there are plans in place to ensure its growth on a global scale.
The blockchain platform is designed to enable peer-to-peer transactions, connecting investors with off-takers and allowing smaller investors to invest in energy projects. People will also be able to trade energy with each other securely on distributed ledgers, ensuring transparency and accountability without the need for traditional utility like metering and billing systems.
Leveraging Blockchain and AR to Streamline Energy Delivery
Until now, direct sale of energy, particularly on the micro-level has been limited due to high transaction costs and also because the overall costs of operating a small-scale utility has not been feasible. But with blockchain, it is now possible to streamline everything using fully automated ledger processing and smart contracts. Schneider Electric and Arensis are combining distributed ledgers with smart metering, demand-based power management as well as AR-based forecasting and automation to simplify the delivery of microgrid solutions to energy customers. This offers a new level of cost efficiency, thus limiting currency value fluctuation and allowing financial institutions to offer credit to off-takers seeking to contribute to renewable energy projects in developing countries.
Schneider Electric VP Smart Grid North America Operations, Mark Feasel stated:
“The system we are working on with Arensis allows users to find information faster, reduce operator error, and avoid machine downtime, with features such as giving users the ability to virtually open electrical cabinet doors and increase their overall efficiency.”
The ENTRADE platform is already being used in other regions across the world, helping blockchain developers in areas with the greatest need such as Asia and Africa raise funds for their projects. However, Arensis and Schneider Electric will over the next few months focus on raising funds for developing the platform as well as finding off-takers to use the system.
In addition to streamlining operations, Schneider Electric is leveraging AR to enable quick installation and maintenance of microgrid systems, including live monitoring and generation and distribution of energy to end-users.