Go-ahead for starting the new Blockchain Research project “pebbles”
The established pool consisting of AllgäuNetz, Fraunhofer FIT, Kempten University of Applied Sciences, Siemens AG and Allgäuer Überlandwerk has given the greenlight to start a new research project “pebbles”.
The German energy market is facing great challenges, which can only be managed in cooperation with all concerned. “We know from experience that opportunities open up in every challenge“, says Michael Lucke, Managing Director of AÜW. For this reason, after the successful implementation of the forerunner projects IRENE and IREN2, the continuation of this productive co-operation between AllgäuNetz, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT, Kempten University of Applied Sciences, Siemens AG and Allgäuer Überlandwerk was, for all parties concerned, a logical step. The new project “pebbles” deals with regional and local energy businesses of distribution networks, whilst building on the findings of an innovative management of renewable energies in the distribution grid.
DEVELOPMENT OF A REGIONAL ENERGY TRADING PLATFORM
The aim of the funded research project “pebbles”, within the framework of the funding program “Smart Service World II” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is the development of a regional energy trading platform and the building of a demonstrator in the grid area of AllgäuNetz GmbH & Co. KG. The main focus will be the development and inspection of platform-based business models, together with complimentary cloud services. The project will run for three years.
In addition, the implications for and synergetic effects with an active distribution network management are to be researched.
The Siemens AG – as technology provider – will be responsible for the information technology implementation of the energy trading platform, as well as a range of Cloud-Services, for example, the developing of a Cloud-based energy management system. The different players on this trading platform, such as private households or handicraft businesses like bakeries, should be able to offer a flexible trading of energy with one another. The resulting commitments between the players will be mapped on the software side with the help of smart contracts based on Blockchain technology. By applying this technology a kilowatt-hour can, for the first time, be allocated clear and individual attributes. Therefore electricity, which for a long time was considered a prime example of a homogenized commodity, would become a heterogeneous product. To provide more liquidity for the demonstrator, the Fraunhofer FIT will simulate virtual market players, and together with the Kempten University of Applied Sciences, guarantee the scientific utilization of the project results for research and teaching.
Together with this, the consortium can fall back on already existing infrastructure such as the Energy Campus Wildpoldsried of the projects IRENE, DeCAS and IREN2 which, among others, can simulate a large load, a generating plant, a reservoir or also a prosumer-household. AÜW is responsible for the running of the platform and thereon the development of an innovative and future-oriented business model. In addition, this local market will be allowed access to the main marketing options, such as the electricity exchange through the AÜW virtual power plant, with the aim of constantly regulating supply and demand. The AllgäuNetz GmbH and Kempten University will continue to assess and develop the innovative service of the distribution net, in which the distribution net providers can slip into a new and active role within the framework of such a regional trading platform. This will be done through the use of modern components and systems such as intelligent operational management strategies. Through the new information and communication technical infrastructure in the network area, new possibilities exist for surveillance and active operational management of this net for the distribution net provider AllgäuNetz. Incentive-based instruments such as dynamic network charges can create net-service behavior with the local trading platform players.
Alongside the development and operation of the digital trading platform lies a further legal framework focus. As the researched concept is not compatible with the current (energy) legal legislation, there is a need to find suggestions for a policy framework, which takes the interests of all stakeholders regulatory framework conditions into account and is also, therefore, the duty of the consortium.
For the first time and exclusively in the project „pebbles“ – in other words from the perspective of all relevant stakeholders – the use of Blockchain technology in the German energy sector is being considered on all physical and information technological levels.
The possibility to transact with both trading businesses and net services on the same platform makes this project in Germany unique.