In a move claimed as a UK first, two debutant power partners say they’ve brought low carbon electricity certified by peer-to-peer blockchain to 3,000 UK households.
Supplier partners Rebel Energy and UrbanChain, operator of an AI-enabled blockchain platform linking microgenerators to consumers, say their model has potential to be extended nationwide, boosting Britain’s approximate 40% current share of renewables.
Led by co-operatives, some clean generators have long complained that Britain’s lack of a right of local sale of power has impeded the growth of retail-scale clean microgeneration.
Rebel Energy and UrbanChain’s route around that regulatory roadblock is a peer-to-peer exchange. Technology, in other words.
The peer-to-peer exchange guarantees every watt of power bought and sold can be certified as renewable, the pair claim, thus avoiding the much-criticised ambiguities and vagaries of renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGOs).
Industry-leading power trading platform Elexon in December published a paper with Energy Systems Catapult, which advocated a similar strategy to get around REGOs’ blemished reputation.
Fundamental to Rebel Energy’s and UrbanChain’s offering is a promise that for the first time, consumers will be able to know where the energy they use is coming from, whether local or distant.
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Rebel is a supplier of 100% green energy and UrbanChain runs the P2P exchange, an energy market solely for renewables.
Rebel Energy’s CEO Dan Bates said: “People increasingly want to know exactly how their energy is generated so that they can make informed choices. We are working together to make the electricity supplied to customers fully traceable to the UK farm where it was produced.”
Bates continued: “For me, it’s all about how you connect UK domestic households to small-scale renewable energy generation. UrbanChain has the technology platform and energy generation assets to do that.
“The P2P exchange,” Bates added, “it opens up the ability to link local energy generation directly with customers.”
The 3,000 household accounts amassed by the partners range from Scotland to Manchester, London and England’s south-west.
UrbanChain’s CEO Somayeh Taheri, pictured, claimed green energy had always been affected by ups and downs in the gas market. “That’s because renewables are intermittent and green energy is fed into the wholesale market before customers buy it back at much higher prices.
“This model has fundamentally remained the same and has continued to see consumers hit with rising bills,” she said.
In 2017 UrbanChain began signing up clean generators and business consumers with, Taheri added, “a mission to alleviate fuel poverty and to fix a broken inefficient energy market model.”
Concerns over imminent rocketing prices for energy spurred the partners to admit households to their platform.
“While we remain the only British all-renewable energy exchange we have now started bringing domestic households into the exchange so they can receive the same benefits which our AI and blockchain driven technology platform enables”, said Taheri
“There’s no doubt that this is a big first step for UK energy,” said Bates, “as by doing this we are starting to create a more predictable energy market.
“We want to be one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK”. Rebel has a long-term goal: to turn every electron on the grid green”.
Addressing fuel poverty has exercised both companies since their foundations.
Bates said: “Why should renewable energy be reserved for those who can afford it? We want to enable every household to be able to take advantage of the energy transition. And for them to receive fairly priced energy.”
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