Aboitiz Power eyes ‘blockchain trading opportunity’ in RE

Published May 8, 2021, 4:30 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The blockchain-enabled trading of electricity within communities or aggregate of end-users can thrive if there would be viable policy and regulatory frameworks to support it, according to Aboitiz Power Corporation, especially in freely allowing the flourishing of micro-grids and even the net metering program for renewable energy (RE) as a way to break down cost barriers for consumers.

“We’ve been looking into this (blockchain) actually, we don’t see this as a disruption, but we see it as an opportunity being an owner of RES (retail electricity supplier) that look into these markets…the platform is quite available and we can do that quite easily,”Aboitiz Power President and CEO Emmanuel V. Rubio said.

Aboitiz Power President and CEO Emmanuel V. Rubio (Photo credit: https://aboitizpower.com)

Nevertheless, he qualified that for such innovation in the sector to gain traction, “we need to manage regulations — what about net metering, what about rules on the WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) — these need to be looked at holistically; and the regulators really need to look into it – to give it some freedom.”

At this stage, Rubio indicated that the current rules on net metering for RE still have a lot of limitations, hence, the regulators would have to take decisive steps if they want innovations to advance further in the energy sector, including blockchain trading for RE capacities.

Blockchain trading is one of the innovations that the power business segment of the Aboitiz group could synergize with its newly launched data science and artificial intelligence (DSAI) venture via its Aboitiz Data Innovation (ADI) unit.
The Aboitiz group said its DSAI platform will be able to consolidate operating model across its businesses, and that is targeted to “transform data into business outcomes, exploit information to make better decisions, reinvent business models and develop high value solutions to create new processes, products and services.”

For blockchain power trading – chiefly on the solar energy space, it was noted that while it is being experimented even in Asean countries like Thailand and Singapore, the progress had still been slow, because of challenges like the not-so-free grid access; as well as the imposition of layers of costs upon those that are interested to participate in the trading channel.

Moving into the future, blockchain technologies are being pushed into core power markets to become part of energy’s digital future. It is reckoned that pioneers and early adopters will eventually emerge as the winners in the electricity marketplace.

Blockchain applications, which could include digital ‘energy tokens’, have been emerging as part of viable trading alternatives in electricity markets.

This digital currency trading for electricity could come in the form of distributed ledgers with cryptographic security or any other digital application of tokenizing the buying and selling of a kilowatt-hour of power commodity.

The decentralized systems, like micro-grids, are considered perfect candidates for blockchain application. And on the whole, this could democratize and revolutionize how energy is traded across the market chain.
It is also seen that these digital tools would be able to create new business models from energy suppliers to the consumers, hence, it will be expanding the choice for electricity end-users.