Electron hosts the UK energy industry’s first blockchain hackathon
Hackathon was held in London with developers and energy professionals to find solutions for a digital energy future
Teams were made up of Big Six energy suppliers, independent energy suppliers, distribution network operators, professionals from the water industry and third-party intermediaries
Electron, a London-based technology company developing blockchain systems for the energy sector, yesterday hosted the UK energy industry’s first blockchain hackathon dubbed the ‘kWhackathon’.
The one-day event gave software developers and other energy professionals the opportunity to access the blockchain energy asset register, designed to be a single source of technical data.
The asset registration platform includes data such as electricity and gas meter supply points across the UK and can be used to demonstrate tracking and management of the asset registration process. Furthermore, it implements the agent appointment process and maintains some of the meter technical details (MTDs) associated with supply points.
The kWhackathon was made up of 15 teams including some of the Big Six energy suppliers, independent energy suppliers, distribution network operators, professionals from the water industry and third-party intermediaries.
The teams were able to directly access the blockchain underpinning the asset registration platform and interact with the platform via a RESTful API. They were challenged to create new innovative products and services to integrate with or complement the platform.
The winning hackathon team was from Octopus Energy. Their concept used the blockchain asset register and smart contracts to tackle some of the issues faced by many customers with pre-payment meters.
Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, said “We founded Octopus not as an energy company but as technology business that sells energy. I’m immensely proud of our talented team for winning this competition. It’s this kind of innovation - built in just 6 hours - that shows how tech companies like Octopus can revolutionise dinosaur sectors like retail energy to benefit all customers, not just the savvy few.”
Additional prizes were also awarded - the best industry solution was given to team ‘Net Benefit’, a coalition of companies led by Northumbria Living Water, for their proposed use of smart contracts to enable ‘Storage as a Service’. The most innovative solution was given to team ‘UG’ from Utility Warehouse for their proposed EV charging solution, ‘Snappy’.
The judges gave an honourable mention to team ‘Desire’ (Decentralised Social Register), which comprised individuals from Centrica, Halo Cleantech, University College Cork, Wheatley Solutions and West Sussex County Council. They proposed a new way of co-ordinating priority service registers.
A panel of blockchain and energy industry experts attended on the day to judge the products and services developed at the event:
Rachel Fletcher, CEO at Office of Water and former Ofgem senior partner for consumers and competition
Laura Sandys, Business Entrepreneur and Policy Innovator Challenging Ideas
Aeron Buchanan, Co-founder at Eth Core Limited
Audrey Gallacher, Director of Retail Energy Supply at EnergyUK
Paul Ellis, co-founder and CEO at Electron, added: “We hosted this hackathon to allow companies to explore what can be accomplished with blockchains in serious business use cases and to encourage the development of complementary service offerings.”
Given the high demand to participate in the kWhackathon and the breadth of new ideas developed on the day, Electron will look to hold similar events in the future to further nurture the uptake of blockchain and other innovative practices in the energy sector.
Electron is a London-based tech company harnessing blockchain to design new platforms and services for a decarbonising, digitising, decentralising and democratising energy sector. Recognising the potential for these new technologies to transform the shared virtual infrastructure of the grid, Electron is taking a top down, collaborative approach to platform development and working with various key stakeholders in the energy industry.
For more information, please visit www.electron.org.uk
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