Looking back, looking forward
However you look at it, 2018 was a flood of firsts and milestones- not only for Electron, but also for the energy industry as a whole. So, in kicking-off this new year, we took a moment to reflect on the events of last year and set our intentions and road map for 2019.
In the UK alone, 2018 saw:
More coal-free days than ever before;
Renewable energy capacity surpassing that of fossil fuels;
Aggregated units competing in the Balancing Mechanism;
Suspended capacity markets;
… to name just a few. So many new realities to contend with along this inexorable march towards decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitalisation and democratisation.
At Electron, we defined our mission: to develop the shared, digital infrastructure that underpins this energy transition. And in February 2018 we announced that we had bought together a commercialisation consortium of 12 leading industry players to co-define and challenge that infrastructure.
Together, we laid out a new data coordination hub that linked specific energy assets to their attributes, contractual relationships and, ultimately, to the trades themselves.
In September 2018, we executed the first trade on this platform together with EDF Energy and UKPR: a secondary capacity trade. Two other markets were defined within this consortium that we have been busy prototyping and looking forward to trialling in earnest later this year.
We also opened up our shared asset register to 120 of the energy industry’s finest in February 2018. This was our so-called “kWhackathon”: what we believe to be the UK industry’s first Blockchain hackathon. The attendance, energy and quality of thought was fantastic. Kudos again to our innovative and deserving winners, Octopus Energy.
We have been doing a lot of work on this asset register since. We believe that coordination of future multi-vector market places (e.g. national and local, power and capacity, and other value attributes such as carbon intensity, response profile, inertia etc.) require this shared asset register. We also secured network parters for a much larger trial at scale- this will be kicking off in 2019 and will also tackle the challenges surrounding GDPR and distributed governance.
Finally, 2018 was the year in which we dipped our toes into global electricity markets, with partnerships announced in Switzerland and Korea. The level of incoming enquiries made it clear that, despite the radically different market structure of these countries, they shared the same requirement for new data structures that cater to much more detailed asset maps and records of contractual relationships.
So this brings us to 2019. What do we want to see? More collaboration, more trials at scale, a continued focus on market solutions, deeper partnerships and many more energy assets participating in energy markets.
We believe that this will be the year in which digital infrastructure becomes an industry priority — globally. The simple truth is that no system can truly be “smart” or “connected” if the information structures underpinning that system are inappropriate or incomplete. We look forward to continuing to work with the industry to bring coordination and structure to fragmented data sets and markets.