Blockchain Token to Share Renewable Energy Unveiled

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A new blockchain-based energy-sharing token has been launched in The Netherlands.

Named the ‘Jouliette’, the new token aims to empower individuals and communities to easily manage and share locally produced renewable energy.

It has been developed by Amsterdam-headquartered smart energy company Spectral and Dutch distribution system operator Alliander.

The Jouliette — named after the Joule unit of measurement for energy — is the first such initiative of its kind in the Netherlands.

The project aims to become an example of how to harness the capabilities of blockchain technology to create greater social value and to support a bottom-up transition towards a more distributed, robust, and transparent economy, underpinned by 100 percent renewable energy.

The Jouliette has been launched at De Ceuvel, an experimental innovation community in Amsterdam powered by renewables.

With the Jouliette token, community members are able to make secure, peer-to-peer transactions directly between their own virtual currency ‘wallets’.

Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, ensures that these transactions are secure and decentralized, with the history of all transactions being shared with all the community members, so they can be automatically verified without needing the intervention of a ‘trusted’ bank. 

Spectral and Alliander said that this ecosystem at De Ceuvel is made possible because the site features a private renewable energy-based smart-grid. This enables the community to exchange renewable energy produced by their solar PV panels, without any restrictions, and therefore avoid existing market barriers.

“With the Jouliette platform, the De Ceuvel community can easily manage their own micro-economy, and unlike purely speculative currencies, the Jouliette tokens are backed up by physical energy production,” the companies said in a statement.

“Beyond just enabling energy exchange, the community will be exploring further applications for the Jouliette, such as using it to trade for goods at the De Ceuvel Cafe, to facilitate a local time-banking system, and to integrate other intra-community services, such as a car-sharing program.”

Besides the peer-to-peer blockchain trading system, the Jouliette platform also features a real-time power-flow map of the community, high-resolution data visualizations, and machine-learning forecasting systems, which provide users with greater insights into their real-time energy use and projected production and consumption.

Spectral chief executive Philip Gladek said: “The Jouliette and its associated broader applications represents an important step forward towards realizing a local, circular, resource-based economy. We’re excited to launch it at De Ceuvel, which has become a globally visible showcase for sustainable urban development and a hub for cleantech innovation. In the coming months, the De Ceuvel community will be experimenting with the Jouliette in practice, and engaging in a number of user experience design sessions to take the platform to the next level, together with the system developers.

“We are looking forward to taking this idea forward and helping it scale up across the wider community and beyond to realise its full potential.”

Pallas Agterberg, strategy director at Alliander, added: “In general, society looks at big solutions when it comes to the transition towards a renewable energy system, like underground CO2 storage and big offshore wind farms. That makes the energy transition intangible, expensive and out of reach for many people. We want a cost neutral acceleration in the renewable transition, and perhaps even one with a cost reduction.

“But then we need a decentralized model which facilitates greater local interaction and incentivizes direct peer to peer exchange of renewable energy. We look forward to exploring how concepts like the Jouliette can help lead the transition we need to see.”

Images credit: Spectral

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