Energy Web Chain: Time to disrupt the analog energy era!
Energy Web Chain is the world’s largest energy blockchain ecosystem. Energy Web has become the industry’s leading blockchain partner for utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers and others. Part of this project will be D3A — a decentralized energy marketplace.
Solar panels, electric cars, smart thermostats and even cryptocurrency mining equipment will all be connected to the decentralized Energy Web and start using verifiable clean energy.
What is an Energy Web Chain?
Energy Web Ecosystem is comprised of some of the biggest companies in the world such as Engie, E-On, Eneco, ECOHZ, Electrorbas etc. Validators that invested and now host nodes for the chain include the largest energy companies including Shell, EDF, Engie, PTT, Total or Tepco.
“Energy Web Chain is literally uberizing or airbnbizing every single electric device on the planet”, Jesse Morris, CCO of Energy Web Foundation
Proof of Authority approach of Energy Web
If you would run something that needs to follow legal and statutory standards, would you run it openly and risk the intervention of regulators? Probably not.
And of course, when handling an energy market and trying to solve its inefficiency, Proof of Work was absolutely inapplicable.
That’s why Energy Web Foundation picked a Proof of Authority consensus mechanism. That means the validators of the Energy Web Chain are permissioned, hosted by Energy Web Foundation affiliate organizations. But the chain itself is permissionless so any user with a private key can use it without any restriction.
The responsibilities of those validators are similar to the other blockchains. Validating transactions and from them creating new blocks, that are added to the blockchain. Validators are also responsible for securing the network by storing the current and historical state of the chain. For finalizing the block, there is a need for a consensus of at least 51% of validators. Validators also participate in the EWC governance.
Advantages of PoA utilization are high scalability, low transaction costs and low energy consumption.
At this moment, Energy Web Chain is in stage 1.0, which enables sending transactions and validation blocks. With Kusama and Polkadot's release, EW Chain will move towards stage 2.0 that will mean EWC will become a Relay Chain with a PoA consensus that can host various specialized parachains to improve scalability and utility of the network. From that moment, staking will be enabled so token holders like us will then nominate validators and share the block rewards.
3 layers of Energy Web — Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS)
The Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) is an open-source stack of decentralized software, standards and software development toolkits (SDKs) running on the decentralized network secured by the well-known companies from the energy sector such as large utilities, grid operators, and technology companies.
EW-DOS has 3 separate layers — the trust layer, utility layer and toolkit layer. So, let’s have a closer look at each one of them.
Trust layer — Energy Web Chain
Energy Web Chain is a foundational blockchain specific to the energy sector. It provides the baseline for the timestamp immutable data-sets and their state transitions in smart contracts.
Energy Web Chain is also the anchor for the decentralized digital identities (DIDs), which are key in the energy sector for various reasons.
Utility layer — the middleware layer
The utility layer is the middleware layer of the EW-DOS stack. It streamlines the experience of creating and managing decentralized applications by providing tools to easily build solutions for UX tools, back-end application services and high-volume messaging. Services provided by public service nodes in the utility layer are valued and paid for in the EWT.
The utility layer brings the three different enterprise implementations:
- Energy Web Name Service (EWNS) — simplifying managing of DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers)
- DID (Decentralized Identifiers) Key Recovery
- Transaction Relay — enables users to interact with EW Chain without dealing with EWT
- Bridges —connection with other blockchains such as Ethereum (EWTB, DAI for this moment)
- Oracles — connecting on-chain data (from blockchains) with the data from the outside world
- Other Chain Abstraction — API generator for communication between on-chain identities and off-chain data
- Identity Directory —a smart contract with a list of DIDs and associated claims and other data
- Messaging — high-volume communications that do not rely on blockchain transactions
- Storage — scalable data storage on blockchain both non-editable (content-addressed) and key-value data (like the reference of the latest version of an app).
Software development toolkits provide generic functionality for different usecases and markets. They need to be customized and implemented for a specific context. Two main toolkits are Energy Web Origin and Energy Web Flex, so let's have a closer look at them.
Energy Web Origin
EW Origin is an open-source, customizable, decentralized application that records the provenance of electricity generated by renewables and automatically tracks its ownership. Origin is designed for plug-and-play compatibility with existing regulations and tracking systems such as the I-REC Standard.
Let’s say I want to purchase clean energy. By using EW Origin, I can check the real poof where the energy that I would like to buy, came from — if it's from a wind power plant, water plant or solar panels. I can even check the CO2 reduction and the renewable energy certificate properties.
Energy Web Flex
EW Flex is a suite of SDKs for integrating Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into energy markets and demand flexibility programs.
Let’s see an example how users can register themselves. Imagine a prosumer (both producer and consumer) who wishes to install a new battery storage system in his home. On the EW Flex landing page, he would select his role and provide the requested information. Then he can register his new battery easily by scanning a QR code in the product's packaging. He can do the same with his electric vehicle like Tesla.
Prosumer can then set some parameters, for example, he can sell his energy to earn as much money as he can make while he is sleeping with the limit he needs for tomorrow morning when he will drive 40 kilometers at 8 a.m.
On the other hand, the grid operator can request flexibility (energy) from the prosumers easily in the EW flex interface.
Energy Web usecases
There are several possible usecases for Energy Web:
- simplifying traceability of clean energy and carbon emissions
- increasing grid flexibility by using distributed energy resources
- enabling developers to build applications built on foundations of energy web decentralized operation system
- issuing energy attribute certificates (EACs) for proving that renewables such as solar, wind or hydro have generated a specific volume of electricity in a certain place at a certain time
Energy Web Applications
EW Zero enables any renewable energy buyer to find and source procurement options from across a wide variety of digital marketplaces globally. Simply put, buyers can easily verify available supplies of renewable energy options — including energy attribute certificates (EACs) such as renewable energy certificates (RECs), guarantees of origin (GOs), and International RECs (I-RECs).
“EW Zero is the way for buyers to go and find renewables around the world”, Jesse Morris, CTO of Energy Web Foundation
EW Switchboard is an open-source tool for identity and access management (IAM) for users, assets, and application developers that leverages SSIs (self-sovereign identities), DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers), and VCs (Verifiable Claims) for authentication, authorization, and accounting.
Behind EWC stands the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a non-profit organization that has a very strong team composed of experts from the electricity and energy sector.
CEO and former CCO of the Energy Web is Jesse Morris who was previously focused on the fundamental economics of distributed energy resources and their ability to provide a wide variety of services to the grid through regulatory change and new business models.
The former CEO of Energy Web is Walter Kok, who recently moved to a new position — he is now Managing Director of The Lab, Energy Web’s innovation hub. Walter is an expert in the fintech, telecommunication and IT industry with three decades of experience from companies such as ING Bank, Vodafone, BT or NEC Corporation.
Some more important personas are Chief Financial Officer Raffaella Piraino, Chief Technology Officer Micha Roon or Asset Management Leader Ioannis Vlachos who received the “Researcher of the Year award” in the area of blockchain technology for the energy sector in 2019!
Cofounders of Energy Web Foundations are Rocky Mountain Institute that is a nonprofit organization focused on low-carbon future and renewables and Grid Singularity, which is a world-leading blockchain technology developer in the energy sector. And guess what, co-founder of Grid Singularity is nobody less than Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Polkadot.
EWC attracted support from over 100 energy-business-related corporations such as Acciona, AES, Centrica, Duke Energy, E.ON, ENGIE, General Electric, PG&E and Shell Energy.
Energy Web Token
Energy Web Token (EWT) is a native first-layer utility token of the EW Chain. EWT is fully approved by the SEC with no ICO or IEO.
There are two main purposes of EWT:
- paying for transaction fees that then goes to validators and the community fund,
- protecting the network against misbehavior.
One big difference between Energy Web Chain and networks like Ethereum is that the transaction fees or in-app payments don’t necessarily need to be paid in EWT but also with any other cryptocurrency or even a fiat currency.
The total supply is 100 million EWT, while 90 million tokens were created in Genesis block and the rest 10 million will be minted over 10 years and distributed to the stakeholders once the planned staking functionality will be implemented. So yes, staking will be involved in EW Chain in some of the further upgrades.
EWT can be stored in various crypto wallets including MetaMask and MyCrypto, which could be also connected with hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger.
Besides EWT, there is an ERC-20 token called EWTB, which is bridged token to the Ethereum network. EWTB could be easily bridged between EWC and Ethereum networks thanks to the official Energy Web bridge.
Energy Web Solutions
We are now heading towards the most amazing paragraph, as what you can expect to be the main purpose for the Energy Web Chain and EWT token. Here are a few major examples for future utilization.
Renewable energy markets
The demand for renewable energy sources grew in 2020 despite the pandemic situation in the world, while the consumption of all other fuels decreased. How will renewable energy sources expand as the global economy wakes up from the global crisis? More likely the demand will grow more and more including the necessity of renewable energy certificates (RECs) in North America, guarantees of origin (GOs) in Europe or the International REC Standard (I-REC) in the rest of the world.
Digitalization of proof of impact squared by immutable blockchain records can solve the pain point of the renewable industry. The EW Origin SDK can bring new solutions for corporate procurement of renewable energy, 100% certified guarantees for charging electric cars with renewable energy, low-carbon fuel sourcing or avoiding carbon monitoring following relevant market standards and regulations.
An open-source application EW Zero allows renewable energy buyers to find procurement options from a wide range of digital markets around the world. EW Zero integrates a lot of markets, as well those built with EW Origin, through one simple digital interface.
Its expected that investments in distributed energy resources (DERs) will increase ten times till the end of this decade. Grid operators and distribution system operators will need to scale at much higher levels compared to today’s numbers. Asset registrations, pre-qualification, dispatch, and settlement for DERs such as rooftop solar panels, integrated battery systems, electric vehicles or smart appliances.
The need for digital solutions such as EW Flex SDK will help grid operators tap into a large and growing group of customer-owned assets that will be able to improve the DER (Distributed Energy Resources) ownership economy through increased participation in different wholesale energy markets.
By rapidly growing electric vehicles (EVs) demand by customers and increasing orientation of conventional car producers into this field, it's expected that in 2030 there will be hundreds of millions of EVs. The energy consumption will be huge, similar to today’s electricity needs of Germany, the 4th largest economy!
This will be a big challenge for grid operators and energy storage creators. The right types of digital solutions will be needed to seamlessly manage vehicle identities, charging of a green EV, grid flexibility and financial settlement as well. Here can be very useful Energy Web software development toolkits EW Origin and EW Flex.
The Decentralized Autonomous Area Agent (D3A)
Decentralized Autonomous Area Agent (D3A) was developed by EWF cofounder company Grid Singularity. It’s a blockchain-backed digital market framework for the 21st-century grid that enables any energy-consuming or energy-producing devices to interact with each other in a trustless blockchain environment
D3A enables energy providers and all equipment using given energy to create their own connections and networks used for open-source energy peer-to-peer trading in communities and cities.
On the D3A exchange, energy prices are determined by bids and offers, which are issued by the commercial strategies of the participating energy devices.
With the D3A exchange, households have the option of buying energy first from their neighbors who have excess generated energy rather than automatically buying more expensive energy supplied by the energy company at a flat rate. And households with excess generated energy can sell it at a higher local price than at the feed-in tariff rate offered by the energy company.
Energy Web Chain is the world’s largest energy blockchain ecosystem. Energy Web has become the industry’s leading blockchain partner for utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers and corporate energy buyers.
The EW Ecosystem is comprised of over 100 companies including some of the biggest ones such as Engie, E-On, Eneco, ECOHZ, Electrorbas etc. Validators that invested and now host nodes for the chain include the worldwide energy giants including Shell, EDF, Engie, PTT, Total or Tepco.
With the fact that EWT is fully approved by the SEC, there is no real boundary to reach the goals that were settled up. Energy Web Chain as a Relay Chain for the world's energy sector can host Parachains for individual regions. We can imagine regions can be continents such as Europe, North America or even countries like Netherlands, Germany or United States. Or even cities, maybe Rotterdam can have its own D3A (decentralized energy marketplace) connected as a parachain to EW chain.
The goal of the Energy Web is to provide the world with a global network for both the supply and demand of energy from producer to the user and even prosumer, as well as to enable a decentralized peer-2-peer market for trading between individual users. The Energy Web is considered a new digital DNA network for renewable energy.
By reaching its mission to decarbonize the global electricity sector and of course reaching commercial adoption of a decentralized operating system, we can definitely see EWT in the TOP 10 of CoinMarketCap chart in a 5–10-year horizon!
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