Advanced Transactive Energy Companies - Electron: Capabilities
Electron's capabilities, especially as they relate to distribution system operation and electric vehicle support, lie in the design and development of an energy flexibility trading platform and a shared energy data asset register. An energy technology company rather than a distribution system operator, London-based Electron has other capabilities including the development of solutions for metering, billing, security, grid management, and data access permissioning on the Ethereum and Energy Web blockchain platforms.
CAPABILITIES RELATING TO DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM OPERATION
- London-based Electron is not a distribution system operator. It describes itself as an energy technology company that leverages its blockchain and energy expertise to develop digital infrastructure for the energy sector. Its products include balancing markets, attribute markets, data markets and services, a curtailment market, and an asset register.
- However, Electron has recently partnered with Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks, and SP Energy Networks, which are three of the six distribution network operators (DNOs) in the United Kingdom.
- Similar to other DNOs in the United Kingdom, Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks, and SP Energy Networks are all transitioning to a distribution system operator (DSO) model.
- In February 2018, it was announced that Electron, together with Siemens and National Grid Electricity System Operator, had formed a consortium with EDF Energy, Baringa, Flexitricity, Northern Powergrid, KiWi Power, Open Energi, Statkraft, Shell, and UK Power Networks to develop a platform where energy flexibility can be traded.
- Jim Cardwell, trading and innovation head at Northern Powergrid, noted that Northern Powergrid's collaboration with Electron is in line with its broader activity portfolio setting out its transition to a distribution system operator and its efforts to provide value for its customers, while Sotiris Georgiopoulos, smart grid development head at UK Power Networks, noted how energy flexibility is instrumental to how value for customers will be delivered in the future.
- Supported by a grant from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, the consortium, which was dubbed an "Energy eBay," was created to facilitate the technical development of a multilateral transaction platform that will accommodate "Demand Side Response actions," with an initial product set and a commercialization model as the deliverables. The project is now marked 'complete'.
- Electron is working with National Grid, UK Power Networks, and SP Energy Networks on an innovation project named RecorDER, which aims to develop "a shared asset register for energy asset data." This project, which is scheduled to be completed by June 2020, aims to create a clear and cohesive view of energy network assets by integrating prevailing datasets. New systems advancing carbonization and operating cost efficiency will be enabled by the improved asset data visibility and availability.
- As the project makes use of the resource register of the Energy Networks Association's Open Networks and The Energy Data Task Force, the granting of access to datasets will be secure. Through the shared asset register, network operators, regulators, and aggregators can work together to build shared datasets, and asset managers and owners can connect their assets to third-party datasets or consent to the use of their asset data in connected systems.
- In summary, Electron's capabilities, as far as distribution system operation is concerned, lie in the development of an energy flexibility trading platform and a shared asset register.
CAPABILITIES RELATING TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE SUPPORT
- Electric vehicle support is not listed among Electron's products and services, but Kaluza, a smart grid technology company owned by energy supplier OVO, has recently invested in Electron. Kaluza's purpose is the development and management of hardware and software to enable the "integration of electric vehicles, electric heating and battery storage onto the grid." It was formed by OVO to address the problem of integrating an immense number of energy-intensive devices or appliances (e.g., electric vehicles) onto the grid.
- The development and deployment of a shared energy data asset register and a distributed energy trading platform to facilitate this transition and integration is where Electron comes in.
- Both Electron and Kaluza have this shared vision of "a distributed, flexible and zero-carbon energy system where connected devices such as electric vehicles can support the grid."
- Kaluza's investment in Electron, which was announced in March 2019, will speed up Electron's development and deployment of its distributed energy flexibility marketplace and shared energy data asset register.
- In summary, Electron's capabilities, as far as electric vehicle support is concerned, lie also in the development of an energy flexibility trading platform and a shared asset register.
- Electron's other capabilities include the design and development of digital infrastructure for the following markets and services:
- Curtailment market. This is a "peer-to-peer market" where "generation assets can pay other generation [assets] or consumers" to circumvent curtailment.
- Balancing markets. These are markets where utilities can enter into contracts with assets on the register and purchase "active power or capacity for balancing." In these markets, either active power or financial products can be traded.
- Attribute markets. These are markets where asset attributes that are either physical or financial can be traded. It integrates with the asset register, and it permits value stacking.
- Data markets and services. These are markets where data for services and analysis, such as insurance data, can be bought or sold.
- With data from 60 energy suppliers and "53 million metering points," Electron was able to develop a demo platform on the Ethereum blockchain to replicate the energy market in the United Kingdom. With this replicated market, Electron was able to demonstrate that a blockchain-enabled solution would permit consumers to change energy suppliers in as fast as 15 seconds, at most 20 times faster than what is possible at present.
- Electron is knowledgeable in developing solutions for metering, billing, security, and grid management on platforms Ethereum and Ethereum-based Energy Web using proof of work and proof of authority as consensus algorithms.
- It, however, focuses on developing a marketplace for flexibility in the use and production of electric power. In such a marketplace, end users such as households can decrease their energy consumption for a price. Apart from the energy flexibility trading platform and the asset register that were already mentioned, a module where data access permissions can be granted or rescinded is also being developed.