Blockchain can be a catalyst for strengthening the role of individual consumers in the market by enabling them to buy and sell energy directly without the need for intermediaries, European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said in his speech in Berlin on April 17, addressing the “Global Summit on Blockchain Technology in the Energy Sector”.
“Thanks to these types of technologies, we can now envisage a fully decentralised energy system in which energy supply contracts are made directly between energy producers and energy consumers – without involving a third-party intermediary and carried out automatically,” said Šefčovič.
“Just imagine how millions of homes could become autonomous agents, contracting power automatically with the best bidder,” the European Commission Vice President said, adding that the next step would be a blockchain-enabled standardised settlement and remuneration method.
“That is how technology can not only support our human needs but also encourage human behavioural change. We are on the verge of peer-to-peer energy transactions and personalised demand response optimisation through automation and remote controls,” Šefčovič said.
“I know you are all expecting to know how our legal and regulatory framework will handle this. I can assure you that our regulation for consumers and prosumers in the energy sector is evolving towards enabling such transactions and introducing peer-to-peer energy trading as a means for achieving self-consumption,” he said.
Šefčovič reminded that in the European Commission’s “Clean Energy for all Europeans” legislative package of November 2016, the con- and prosumer is at the heart of this proposal, adding that consumers are at the centre of the Energy Union, while also saying that energy is a critical good and absolutely essential for full participation in modern society.
“The clean energy transition also needs to be fair for those sectors, regions or vulnerable parts of society affected by the energy transition. We want to help consumers embrace this transition,” Šefčovič said.
All consumers across the EU will be entitled to generate electricity for either their own consumption, store, share, consume, or sell it back to the market. Šefčovič expressed confidence that all of the changes will make it easier for households and businesses to become more involved in the energy system and better control their energy consumption and respond to price signals.
Šefčovič promised that the Commission would accelerate the deployment of smart meters and ensure access to dynamic electricity price contracts that are essential to bridge the gap between consumers and the market.
“Upon consumer consent, valuable consumer data will be available to market actors who will be able to offer consumers tailor-made solutions. Better-regulated and non-discriminatory access to consumer data will benefit the consumers through increased competition among market actors,” Šefčovič said. “Looking ahead, I think the EU should establish blockchain standards in order to ensure interoperability, end-to-end security. This would also allow the establishment of data marketplaces and data models to analyse, exchange and share energy data across different parties.”
The standards need to be cross-sectorial so that digital platforms for new energy services can combine smart mobility, the integration of renewables, as well as the charging of electric cars and smart home services. Moreover, these standards shouldn’t be agreed by multiple stakeholders spanning across different sectors, according to Šefčovič.
“In order to get there we need to better understand of the energy blockchain community and its needs. That is why last month, the Commission organised a seminar on blockchain in the energy sector. It was clear that we hit the right spot as we were joined by a vibrant community of innovators who were looking at ways in which blockchain can accelerate the energy transition,” Šefčovič said.
Šefčovič concluded by saying that blockchain technology is based on a 3-D model of decentralisation, digitisation, and the democratisation of the system. “The new energy system also has 3-Ds: Decarbonisation, diversification, and disruption. Together, these 6-Ds are what the Energy Union is all about. They reinforce each other and create new synergies, which could not exist otherwise. Our role is to push them faster and further.”