PTT and EWF apply blockchain to renewable energy
September 17, 2019
Thailand-based energy conglomerate PTT and energy non-profit organisation Energy Web Foundation (EWF) have developed a blockchain platform for renewable energy.
The application will be built on the Energy Web Chain and leverage the EW Origin family of open-source software development toolkits to create a regional offering compliant with the International Renewable Energy Certificate (I-Rec) standard.
PTT is responding to corporate demand for renewable energy certificate (REC) options in Thailand and the broader Asean region. Multinational corporations are looking to buy regionally sourced RECs matched to their demand from existing and new facilities in the region.
Many are also looking for ways to enable and track sustainability commitments down through their supply chains, whose operations are often based in Thailand and neighbouring countries. And some are interested to accelerate clean energy access, including residential rooftop solar, which is not usually part of the menu of options for corporate renewables procurement.
In such emerging renewables markets as Thailand and Asean more broadly, I-Rec has proven the standard of choice. PTT and EWF’s blockchain-based offering will bidirectionally sync with the I-Rec database managed by the Green Certificate Company.
“This new platform will benefit both corporate renewable energy buyers and renewable energy developers,” said Worawat Pitayasiri, senior executive vice president at PTT. “It will better match demand with available supply, help corporate buyers to achieve their sustainability goals more easily, create a supplemental revenue stream for already-operating renewable energy assets, and unlock new investment in additional renewable energy throughout the region. We are proud to create this journey and unleash the potential of renewables in Thailand and the region.”
To date, Thailand and Asean have largely been an untapped market for I-Recs. In 2018, some 1.2 billion energy attribute certificates (EACs) were traded globally. Yet RECs in the USA and guarantees of origin in Europe accounted for the overwhelming majority of global EAC market activity. The Asean region only had about five million MWh of certified I-Recs, which represents less than 0.5 per cent of global EAC markets.
In Thailand, last year renewable energy provided about 28 million MWh of clean electricity, yet just 0.16 million I-Recs were issued. This is a huge untapped opportunity, and one that is only expected to grow. By 2037, according to Thailand’s Power Development Plan 2018, Thailand is forecast almost to double renewable energy generation. This suggests a compelling business opportunity to close the revenues gap between renewable energy production and I-Rec issuance for producers in Thailand and across Asean.
“This scenario is tailor-made for a blockchain-based leapfrog solution,” said Jesse Morris, chief commercial officer of EWF. “The marketplace we’re co-developing with PTT will help to connect the supply and demand that we know is there, while doing so with the data transparency, reporting credibility and ease that is so important to emerging EAC markets.”
PTT has already demonstrated a successful transaction on an early test version of the application. GPSC’s 5MW solar farm at the Chanthaburi Shrimp Farmer Cooperative successfully transferred 431 I-Recs via PTT’s renewables platform and the Energy Web Chain to 3Degrees, a San Francisco-based trading house that was procuring the I-Recs on behalf of a client in Thailand. PTT and 3Degrees are both EWF Affiliates.
Now the teams are focused on building several modules for the application: a user and asset connection to the blockchain application; in collaboration with the I-Rec standard, a blockchain integration with I-Rec’s registry; a marketplace for trading, claiming and reporting issued certificates; and a way for small solar PV generators to enable streamlined aggregation and participation in I-Rec markets.
Additional modules are in discussion around clean charging for electric vehicles and a digital platform for power purchase agreements. This will be a digital renewables marketplace and a blockchain-based I-Rec platform for Thailand. The target delivery date for the complete PTT renewables marketplace platform is May 2020.
Energy Web Foundation is a member-driven non-profit accelerating a low-carbon, customer-centric electricity system by unleashing the potential of blockchain and decentralised technologies. EWF focuses on technology integration and development, co-creating standards and architectures, speeding adoption, and building community.
In mid-2019, EWF launched the Energy Web Chain, an enterprise-grade, open-source blockchain platform tailored to the sector’s regulatory, operational and market needs. EWF also fostered an energy blockchain ecosystem, comprising utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers and others.