Ambition: This initiative enables a larger ambition to create an interconnected, accessible and adaptable energy system. If clean power generation can be aggregated across the province without giving up ownership or rights to that production, it could result in economic benefits for communities.
Led by EFL Fellow Prageet Nibber of ReWatt Power, and in collaboration with utilities, energy companies, and government stakeholders, this initiative utilizes blockchain technology for efficiency, transparency, and automation. The current pilot aggregates generation from 43 rural solar sites, all of which are members of the rural utility cooperative EQUS REA Ltd. By utilizing Blockchain technology to pool dispersed generation and automate the verification process, the intention is to generate significant cost savings and a mechanism for small scale generators to access the emission credits market.
Any technology solution is only as powerful as the number of users using it. Adoption of technology needs to be simple so that large and small entities can join the network securely and with the least amount of disruption. The challenge of adoption comes with two things: 1) the overall perception of what blockchain is and is not (i.e. people are weary of blockchain as a term), and 2) the willingness to support this technology. In Alberta, there is some support for this technology, but it will take time, in particular to build better relationships with regulators, utilities and communities, and talking to the right decision makers empowered to make decisions. This speaks to a need to de-risk and create roadmaps for technology adoption.
While the working group continues to learn from this pilot as well as identifying and addressing challenges, they are also exploring what it takes to commercialize and scale this approach more broadly. This initiative has now graduated from the EFL.