Blockchain in the energy sector: challenges and opportunities  

Blockchain in the energy sector

 

When: Thursday, 24 October 2019

Where: CEN-CENELEC Management Centre, rue de la Science 23, 1040 Brussels (map)

Programme: download the programme

Registration: participation is free of charge but online registration is obligatory.

Organizer: CEN-CENELEC Sector Forum Energy Management (SFEM)

Objective and structure of the seminar: The seminar’s aim is to align understanding and motivate cross sectorial cooperation to deliver key contribution to the EU energy transition through efficient and relevant blockchain related actions.

  • The opening session sets the EU scene, with key note speakers from EU parliament and EC, from EC DG ENER, from CEN/CENELEC and from SFEM.
  • Session 2 concentrates on concrete pilot applications run in different countries (i.e Switzerland, France, Italy, UK
  • Session 3 provides interaction with the participants through two panel sessions.
  • The wrap up session and conclusion synthesize the outcomes of the seminar and identifies relevant recommendations to SFEM and CEN and CENELEC for further standardization related developments, as well as draft recommendations for further RD&I support and legislative improvement.

Desired outcome - 'Recommendations' from the participating stakeholders to provide an effective framework for standardization development enabling blockchain solutions in the energy sector and an 'Action Plan' to deliver the recommendations: what, who, when.  

Who should attend:

        • Local and national Energy Agencies;
        • Energy service suppliers;
        • Industrial Associations;
        • SMEs;
        • Policy makers;
        • Academics;
        • Researchers;
        • The Standardization community;
        • Financial institutions;
        • and other interested parties.

Information:
For more information or if you would like to get involved, please contact:
Andrea Nam
Project Manager - Energy & Living – Standardization and Digital Solutions
Tel: +32 2 550 09 68

Background
A great opportunity - The European Commission Digitizing European Industry initiative (DEI) has the objective to reinforce the EU's competitiveness in digital technologies and to ensure that its citizens and businesses can draw the full benefits from digital innovation in the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution in an environmentally sustainable way.
Building on and complementing the various national initiatives for digitizing industry, the DEI actions are structured around five main pillars:

      1. European platform of national initiatives on digitising industry
      2. Digital innovation for all: Digital Innovation Hubs
      3. Strengthening leadership through partnerships and industrial platforms
      4. A regulatory framework fit for the digital age
      5. Preparing Europeans for the digital future

In this context, CEN and CENELEC have published a white paper to identify potential and European specific needs in standardization, i.e. provide recommendations on how best to standardize Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) within Europe. The aim is to highlight some European specificities notably when it comes to the particular legislative and policy context, or specific use cases.
Especially for the energy sector, the white paper is calling out the following recommendations:

  • R4-1: For the energy decentralisation and transition, IoT solutions based on Blockchain should be further explored; standardization work should also address the issue of energy consumption during the processes, with the aim to limit interactions between IoT devices to the minimum needed
  • R4-2: Standardisation bodies to address energy management, which is especially important for Europe considering the new European legislative context (Clean Energy Package)

Although focused on technologies, in particular Blockchain and DLT, these recommendations pick up two important energy related aspects associated with the application of these technologies:

  • the considerable amount of energy used by Blockchain-based processes, having the potential to outweigh efficiency improvements and consumption reductions in the future energy supply system;
  • the huge opportunities of these technologies for shaping the future energy markets and to support the related European legislation.

With the 'Clean Energy for all Europeans Package', the overall regulatory framework for energy transition and establishment of the future energy markets is now in place. In order to make the whole process of energy transition transparent, verifiable and secure to all participants in the market, additional rules are needed, especially when it comes to using – for many stakeholders new – technologies like Blockchain or DLT for technical and commercial transactions. This is the field where standardisation has a vast potential to prepare exactly those rules, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, and thus mutually recognised and accepted.

The CEN-CENELEC Sector Forum Energy Management Energy Transition (SFEM) is not an expert body on Blockchain or DLT. However, SFEM contributed significantly to the CEN/CENELEC white paper on blockchain and DLT for the energy sector. SFEM has the task to give strategic advice on how standardisation can contribute to the formation of the regulatory framework needed to make energy transition a financeable reality. Therefore, SFEM will also have to look into questions associated with the application of Blockchain within its particular field of expertise (i.e. the energy sector) to figure out, how standardisation can effectively contribute to the ongoing transformation process. Connecting technical, financial and social aspects to meet the energy transition targets is among the activities SFEM has identified as priorities for further standardization development.

As the recommendations from the white paper show, some of these questions are already on the table, but other questions will come up, we may not even think about today. In reply to those questions many ideas have already been brought up, but most of the answers are still to be given. Therefore SFEM decided to organize its 2019 annual seminar on 'Blockchain challenges and opportunities in the energy sector'.

Various actors are developing pilot projects in the energy sector utilizing blockchain technology. Several flagship projects have been launched recently in several countries, and all engaged stakeholders consider standardization as a key element for replication and scaling-up, with the aim of developing a new market, fully adapted to our EU energy related challenges in the energy transition framework. Thus, standardization of the processes is particularly necessary at the level of the interactions between the devices connected to the Web (IoT), information flow among actors of the supply chain and sustainable finance shareholders. In addition, reference to standards will help in gaining public acceptance and stakeholders’ trust.

These pilot cases of concrete applications in the energy sector should make it possible to gather experiences in payment and settlement solutions and de-risking of energy efficiency projects. If they are positive, nothing will stop their launch on the market. Standardization will then play a major role for replication and scaling up.