This event invited participants from European Commission, CEN-CENELEC, IPEEC (International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation), national ministerial representatives, financial institutions, academia and private companies, to set the state of the art at the EU level for Blockchain in the energy sectors.
Companies and startups presented real pilot applications running in their countries sharing the challenges and opportunities for the use of blockchain based Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) in the energy sector. Generally, these pilot applications have been quite promising. On the other hand, the seminar revealed that much will depend on how successfully these technological changes can be rolled out, to deliver benefits to the entire value chain.
The results of the seminar, arising from the presentations and the panel discussions, are distilled through the following “take-aways” addressed to all stakeholders of the energy value chain:
- Blockchain based applications in the energy sector can help to achieve major European energy objectives, e.g. in the Clean Energy for all Europeans Package.
- DLT based on Blockchain have the potential to de-risk investments in renewables and energy efficiency improvements by ensuring transparency, integrity and traceability of technical and commercial transactions and reporting. .
- They are hence key technologies to manage the complexity of future energy markets, i.e. to achieve real-time coordination of electricity supply and demand data, proper management of energy storage capacities on the energy grids, support e-mobility, etc.
In order to leverage these benefits, a lot of issues are still to be resolved. Standardization can substantially contribute to properly address these issues. Although the whole situation is not mature enough to propose specific standards, it is already possible to draw some conclusions, allowing to start with the development of a standardization strategy regarding the application of Blockchain and DLT in the energy sector:
- Currently, the energy markets in Europe are characterized by a fragmented regulatory landscape. Regulators need to define a coherent set of rules to facilitate cross-border transactions, upscaling of existing and definition of new pilot cases, and to allow interoperability between different energy related use cases;
- There is a need for high-level coordination framework to make the entire energy efficiency value chain “blockchain ready”. This will affect hardware, data formats and communication protocols;
- Standardization can, in support of regulatory initiatives, put technical and organizational aspects into a broadly accepted framework to ensure credibility of the system, to avoid mistrust and fragmentation, as well as to prevent antitrust issues;
- Moreover, standards can help to make legacy structures Blockchain and DLT ready, to reduce the high development costs for the new ICT and software infrastructure needed;
- The very bad energy efficiency of blockchains is a major roadblock for a widespread application. This should be addressed by standards, e.g. minimum efficiency standards for mining equipment and technologies, or energy efficiency standards for data centers;
- At a higher level, standardization must bring together stakeholders from vertical sectors and integrate them into horizontal standardization activities to create a uniform cross-sectoral framework for the application of Blockchain an DLT;
- Standardization organizations should closely follow the development of markets and the regulatory framework and react with appropriate deliverables, rather than attempt to anticipate those developments and prepare standards upfront, which may turn out to be useless.
SFEM will pick up these points and start with the development of a standardization strategy. It will take due care of the needs of all relevant stakeholders. SFEM will also continue to be active in the CEN-CENELEC focus group on blockchain to ensure close coordination with other sectors.
Technical Contact: Andrea NAM
Project Manager Strategy & Governance
CEN-CENELEC Management Centre
T: +32 474 98 21 17