Introduction: With rising concerns of energy usage as our world only grows exponentially more technologically advanced, we have to be mindful of the limited resources we have to sustain for not just future generations but the overall health of our planet. Through the immutable & trustless nature of blockchain Energy Web is hoping to be the change for a high tech yet sustainable future
The topic of energy and ESG initiatives are possibly one of the most confusing & contradictory aspect within this space of blockchains & distributed ledgers. On one hand we see constant talks of Proof of Work mining using rather significant amounts of energy, conversely we’ve also begun seeing blockchain protocols such as Energy Web work to build towards a near zero carbon future. So how do such polar opposite points possibly line up together?
Its no secret by now that the narrative around the entire energy sector is focused on clean & renewable energy as every year we see more and more reports of how global climate change and pollution is inching closer towards the inevitable point of no return.
Whether it be solar, wind, hydropower or biogas the initiative to push forth clean energy has been visible from both the private sector in addition to inter governmental organizations around the world. One could argue these technologies are already put in place from solar panels, wind turbines & even Tesla’s and while there is some truth to that argument, the greater issue posed by early innovations in the energy sector are that these new forms of energy operate in complete silo from our current global energy grid. Simply put the energy grid is our global network of how energy suppliers & demanders are connected, whereas many of these new energy resources are likely new and at times experimental and therefore likely not fit for our planets energy grid infrastructure (yet).
Simply put, Energy Web is an enterprise grade open source blockchain network with the focus of pushing the adoption of renewable energy generation through a decentralized marketplace connecting energy buyers and sellers while building out innovative applications for improving efficiencies in the energy sector.
Spearheading this initiative is led by none other than the Energy Web Foundation which the leading alliances that are working to develop blockchain standards geared towards the energy industry, the foundation is focused on building out the core infrastructure and distributed technologies for a low carbon electricity system.
The Energy Web Chain is primarily built for transactional energy applications in a shared system between institutional energy providers with demanders of the energy such as private households, businesses in other sectors, academias and really any setting that utilizes common energy. The overall goal of this vision is to transition our current siloed system of power suppliers & demanders to a shared network between both parties, creating for a much more transparent and efficient global energy grid.
Unlike most blockchain projects, the vision of Energy Web is built through a consortium like foundation that sees hundreds of members around the world ranging from venture capital funds, energy corporations, blockchain projects, non profits & everything else in between. Lets take a deep dive into what exactly the initiative for this foundation is in addition to operations that have already been carried out.
Some prominent members within this foundation are
R3, Shell, EDF, Hitachi & many others that can be found here. Much of this ecosystem is built up of core energy infrastructure players in our current energy grid, blockchain venture capitalists and investment firms of that nature, a variety of companies building within the crypto DLT space & innovative companies that are looking to take advantage of the disruptions we’ll be seeing in the energy sector in coming years.
Perhaps the largest challenge for the initiative the Energy Web Foundation is carrying out would be that they’re looking to change the entire infrastructure and platform where countless multi billion dollar companies operate upon. Much like getting the banking system to migrate over into blockchain technology, this is no easy task whatsoever.
This is why Energy Web had forgone the traditional approach of most crypto startups of building a potentially disruptive network that just happens to be another walled garden. Instead they’ve chosen to build up their foundation from some of the largest energy corporations to work together under a single agreed upon goal. To build a more robust and efficient global energy grid.
Some of these energy businesses such as Shell, EDF & GE represent the largest energy based companies in the world and have many often wondering “how does a crypto startup happen to land all these partnerships with companies of that caliber?” A large part of this is thanks its first mover advantage in being the first open source DLT specified for the energy sector, in addition to the experience the team has had within this industry prior to starting up Energy Web. (More on that later)
Utility on the Energy Web
With so many different variables in the energy sector, what is the Energy Web chain specifically looking to tackle? The purpose of the chain ranges from a variety of things from daily basic procedures seen on every blockchain like transferring assets in a peer to peer environment, to more advanced energy focused tasks like tracking energy demand and usage from individuals within the grid, or ensuring trust across the grid through the trustless immutable nature of a blockchain. At the core foundation to enable this is the ability to trace a digital identity to every asset, device, utility & individual within their power grid.
The way this is all enabled is through the tech stack that the Energy Web team has built and titled “EW-DOS” or Energy Web Decentralized Operating System.
There are three main components to the EW-DOS in trust, utility & toolkits. All playing an essential role to carry out the operations that the Energy Web network was built for.
At the foundation of the stack lies the engine of the system, the trust layer. The Energy Web Chain, This is a public permissionless network thats able to be accessed by any company, developer, business, individual or even carbon credit. Though with the talks of ESG concerns, doesn’t it seem ironic and counterproductive to be utilizing a blockchain because of their energy consumption?
In many cases it would seem quite ironic, though its no secret by now that in todays era of blockchain, there are countless methods around this issue with perhaps the most seen solution being an alternative consensus mechanism to Proof of Work which is largely what drives all the concerns about energy usage.
Energy Web uses a consensus mechanism titled Proof of Authority (PoA). This enables the chain to use the energy of a medium sized office building rather than a medium sized country. Something that many energy companies would likely be more onboard with after hearing. Rather than allowing anybody to make a new block like on Proof of Work, the new blocks made in PoA are reliant on a specific group of nodes within the network that are referred to as authority or validator nodes, with the validators being various companies within the Energy Web Foundation. Each block is eventually signed by a validator that is decided by the algorithm and the validator is then referred to as the “primary” . While the network itself is permissionless, the validator nodes within the ecosystem are actually permissioned nodes.
Energy Web Proof of Authority
This hybrid blend of a permissionless chain with permissioned nodes is rather unseen in our current landscape of DLT, but Energy Web likely saw those specific parameters a perfect fit for their operations to reconnect the energy grid. A completely private permissioned chain such as Hyperledger would require validation and approval of every device and entity looking to join into the network. I’m sure you could imagine the endless pain points in this procedure with the abundance of devices and individuals they’d have to approve onto the network. On the contrary, a completely permissionless network for energy infrastructure would likely not only cause tons of issues but would be a potential disaster that multinational energy companies would see and stay a mile away from.
The digital identities from each of those individual participants are then stored on the Energy Web chain to establish trust within the network.
In the utility layer above there are various core components of many smart contract platforms such as oracles, storage, relays, bridges, etc. The top layer are toolkits for developers to build the applications and utility onto the Energy Web chain.
Energy Web Connections
With an organized flow of procurements within the Energy Web chain, various companies that have joined the Energy Web Foundation have used their solutions to do their part at creating more global energy efficiency. There are various companies building new initiatives in the energy sector through leveraging Energy Webs decentralized power grid. From tracking and tracing, all the way to decarbonization.
Digital Identities for Electric Vehicles
BMW has been a household name within the automotive industry for quite a while now, so to see them participating within the Energy Web ecosystem is a big stamp of approval. Elia Group is a publicly traded energy transmission service operator company in Brussels Belgium. The two have come together to collaborate on connecting electric vehicles to the power grid through giving them digital identities on the Energy Web Chain.
With Europe’s goals of becoming climate neutral by 2050, the automotive sector seems like a fairly obvious choice to disrupt through electric vehicles. Though the product is just one part of the solution, as getting every vehicle connected to the grid will be just as important.
Two BMW EV’s on Elia platform
The method of identification used in this initiative is called “self sovereign identities”. This has been a topic thats arouse in the DLT space for quite a while as seen in various Hyperledger products along with projects like Cheqd.
These digital twins on the Elia platform not only represent the vehicle, but also has all the data and information of the underlying asset presented by the respective automotive manufacturers that then gets verified.
The concepts of bringing digital passports and identities to the automotive industry opens the doors to countless innovative use cases for everything involved in that ecosystem. For example as vehicles and charging stations are connected to the Energy Webs Open Charging Network for data sharing and storage of each specific automotives lifecycle, this allows an unprecedented level of transparency for grid operating companies to capture and recognize each individual event and the identities involved.
Through leveraging Energy Web’s infrastructure energy transmission service operators not only have access to visibility and transparency of devices in a way they never could before to ensure maximal efficiency, but this also allows the concepts of capturing data such as ensuring EV charging is through 100% clean renewable energy sources.
Blockchain DLT Decarbonization
Aside from the common FUD about Proof of Work mining, the idea of entirely decarbonizing a blockchain is a rather difficult task due to the naturally distributed nature of blockchain ecosystems relative to centralized tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, Google & others as those operations are often done in their own large data centres.
With concerns about the energy usage of blockchains growing more over the past years,
Ripple and the XRP Ledger Foundation decided to take the initiative in being powered by zero carbon electricity sources. While the XRP Ledger is already one of the most energy efficient blockchains, they decided to take it a step further with full decarbonization through leveraging Energy Web’s wide range of solutions such as the deployment of energy attribute certificates (EAC) in addition to their EW Zero application for a seamless transition for individuals, businesses or even entire blockchain networks to convert to a verified system of zero carbon electricity to power the network.
While the initial Proof of Concept for this mission was done and settled in fiat currency, the end goal is to allow EW Zero to enable the verification of renewable energy attributes through native tokens of the underlying blockchains that are being decarbonized in addition to any participant within the network to freely buy renewables or carbon credits for their ecosystem.
The term “marketplace” has arguably taken the world of Web3 by storm, whether it be a marketplace for tokens, data, NFTs, etc. A decentralized marketplace seems to be one of the things driving all the craze in this space. The sector of energy is no different when it comes to needing a decentralized marketplace to facilitate the transfer of energy.
PTT is a multinational energy conglomerate thats state owned by the Ministry of Energy in Thailand with over 350 petrol stations in their overseas operations while operating in over 110 countries.
The main goal of this collaboration is a response to the demand for International Renewable Energy Certificate (I-REC) options across the Southeast Asian nations. Though the range of explorations to find more efficient methods to operate have ranged from sourcing REC’s across other regions, tracking sustainability commitment & loyalty within corporations through supply chains, to more common approaches of building renewable resources such as rooftop solar panels.
The Southeast Asian regions have been rather neglected out of the clean energy & renewable resources movement, as in 2018 the world saw roughly 1.2 billion EAC’s being traded around the world. Though the overwhelming majority of that volume traded was through the United States and Europe with the Southeast Asian regions only attributing about 5 million MW/h of EAC’s which totals up to less than 0.5% of the EAC markets.
The majority of these certificates fall under I-REC standards which is the energy attribute standard thats been adopted by over 50 countries to support the generation and transition to clean renewables.
When the vision of this partnership comes to life it can enable a platform where EAC’s can all get tokenized to enable validation to follow I-REC standards on a decentralized marketplace where any participant on the grid is able to trade certified EAC’s in addition to other potential products launching on the marketplace such as credits & discounts.
The concepts of solar energy has been perhaps one of the largest points of clean renewables for the longest time now, right up there with electric vehicles and natural gases. The SunSpec Alliance & Energy Web are looking to accelerate the adoption of generating energy through natural sunlight by setting the grid infrastructure to carry out these operations, in addition to building various solutions, certificates, digital standards that will all be easily integratabtle in a plug and play interoperability manner.
SunSpec is an alliance of over 100 energy and infrastructure companies ranging globally from Asia, Europe & North America pursuing information standards to truly enable a global interoperable plug and play ecosystem of solar energy. Some of the more prestigious companies within the organization include
LG Electronics, Shell, General Electric, in addition to countless others.
While the concepts of solar energy have been around for sometime now, as the first solar panels were first created all the way back in 1954 though at the time the lack of technology made the conversion of energy rather inefficient. To truly have solar power in mass scale it also requires proper distribution and storage, which is where the Energy Web grid comes in, whether it be giving an identity to each individual solar power generator or cybersecurity with the organization and flow of solar energy within the grid.
Bloomberg predicts that we could see a potential $4.2 trillion in solar investments along with another $843 billion towards energy storage by 2050. Beyond the agenda to further harness the energy within our global ecosystem towards a Type 1 civilization, this vision has immense value that will likely be captured by global alliances that are building the foundation towards this universal power shift (pun intended).
R3 & Energy Web Settling The Stack
Facilitating payments within the energy sector can get quite messy due to the amount of data provenance potentially required in the case theres some miscommunication. From the slow and outdated correspondent banking system for cross border foreign currency transfers taking days to fully settle and clear transactions, to the silos from the payments industry overall.
R3 initially started out as a banking consortium of some of the largest investment banks in the world from JP Morgan, State Street, Barclays, Commonwealth Bank of Australia & others. Since then they’ve come out with the first ever open source enterprise grade permissioned DLT network named Corda, which has taken the world of FinTech by storm as it reigns as the leading DLT network that FinTech companies looking to expand their operations to blockchain have been looking towards.
Energy Web plans to simplify the procedure of payments within the energy sector through having tokens execute transactions on the backend while having the transaction still show up as a bill credit within a traditional billing system managed by Oracle that the overwhelming majority of energy firms rely on. This allows for a seamless flow of payments towards devices, businesses and individuals with same day settlements for assets while having to only take fiat values into account which is likely much more preferred versus crypto payments when talking with large corporations.
Though this also opens doors to solutions for many smaller less developed countries lacking the proper banking infrastructure to facilitate micropayments through a mobile application, as this is one of the largest persuasion points towards the innovative use cases of crypto assets.
By integrating Corda into the EW-DOS it enables a variety of enhanced operations from an ease of transacting between peers or other firms, privacy within smart contracts & further automating microprocedures in cost and time effective manner.
Energy Web Foundation Team
The Energy Web Foundation has come quite a long way from its origins in being founded by the global think tank
Rocky Mountain Institute alongside Grid Singularity. The large and ambitious collaborations around the world they’ve landed have likely been successful due to the experience and expertise within this sector the core team had previously had before transitioning to building out the new infrastructure for the upcoming shift in power. Jesse Morris
From secretary, to Chief Operations Officer, all the way to now Chief Executive Officer. Jesse Morris has spent the last nearly 6 years dedicated towards cofounding and fully building out the Energy Web ecosystem to where its at today.
Throughout his time at Energy Web his largest focus has been one thing “Get everyone on the grid”. Whether it was utilities, tech giants, developers, policymakers and anything else that would be an asset towards building out the vision of their ecosystem.
Prior to his time at Energy Web, Jesse had built up quite a resume of experience within the industry dating back to 2006. With perhaps the most notable position Jesse held was during his time with Energy Web cofounder Rocky Mountain Institute, which serves as an independant, non-profit organization made up of players within the energy industry alongside stakeholders, regulators and other organizations. They’ve been a key player in the energy space for the past 40 years focused on decarbonizing energy systems much like Energy Web is.
Jesse’s role at Rocky Mountains was as a Principal for Electricity Practice with a primary focus to partner and collaborate with as many industry players as possible to further enable distributed and clean energy resources accelerated adoption.
With over a decade of experience working within some of the top firms in the energy sector, Jesse is a perfect fit as CEO towards Energy Web for spearheading and connecting members he’s previously acquainted with during his time at Rocky Mountains to the new power grid standard. Additionally the open mind on finding collaboration to achieve success in Jesse’s character is a perfect fit towards the goal that Energy Web is building towards.
With roughly 30 years of experience working in the world of large enterprises revolved around telecommunications, banking and information technology. Walters experience is an integral part of the way the Energy Web team has progressed with their operations thanks to his role as a strategic advisor. Before holding this position Walter served as the previous CEO & COO of Energy Web.
Walter began his career spending seven years at KPN Telecom the leading Dutch telecommunications company whose shareholders consists of some of the largest players in finance such as Franklin Templeton and BlackRock. With over 10,000 employees worldwide and over 5 billion euros in revenue, its fair to assume that Walter likely built up quite a strong network during his time at KPN.
He then continued his ventures into the industry of telecommunications working with other industry giants such as BT Group another large multinational telecommunications firm headquartered in England that holds a Royal Warrant (Mark of recognition to people or companies supply goods & services to HM/Royal households). He spent 3 years there before moving to Vodafone, another large multinational company operating in the same market in the UK.
ING is has over $1.1 trillion in assets under management in addition to ranking as a top 10 largest bank in all of Europe. Walter had spent 4 years there as a director. This position likely expanded Walters network even further as up until this point the large majority of his close acquaintances were likely companies revolved around informatics and telecommunications, relative to ING being massive commercial bank carrying out services for individuals and companies of all kinds.
Mani Hagh Sefat
The brains behind the Energy Webs tech stack has been built through Mani and the rest of the technological and development department at Energy Web. While Mani was previously their senior blockchain architect, he has since been moved up towards spearheading all the DevOp initiatives as the Chief Technology Officer.
With software experience dating back to 2004, Mani began his first position at MultiMedia University which is the oldest and first ever fully closed and private Malaysian research academia. He served as a senior software engineer for two years before moving onto IBM to work as a blockchain integration architect on a one year contract.
Mani then spent a solid 9 years at MIMOS, another Malaysian research focused firm. During his time at MIMOS, Mani climbed from a senior software engineer all the way up to Head of MIMOS Blockchain Lab. MIMOS is government owned through the Minister of Finance. Their products and services include testing and technical consultancy, open laboratories for developers to build and experiment & research on topics such as semiconductors, flexible energy, smart nano electronic materials & much more that all tie into the concepts of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Then shortly prior to his entrance at Energy Web, Mani spent one year at Oracle as a Principal Cloud Platform Architect focused on the operations of their Oracles Blockchain Platform, application development and mobile services.
From Mani’s connected background having worked within tech giants such as IBM and Oracle, his ambitious character can clearly be seen during his years at MIMOS climbing the ranks. Mani’s knowledge and experience alongside his network through having worked within industry giant and governmental owned environments are a key asset towards the technical developments of the Energy Web ecosystem as visible in the EW-DOS.
Energy Web Token Tokenomics
The main function of the Energy Web Token is to serve as power and a medium of exchange of it on the grid. From paying the fee for operations on dApps built thru the EW-DOS to execute, to compensation towards validator nodes.
Due to the similar natures in Proof of Stake and Proof of Authority, the Energy Web chain also utilizes a staking mechanism quite similar to delegated proof of stake, where network participants can stake their tokens onto other validator nodes in the ecosystem and be rewarded doing so from an allocated pool of 10% of the total supply of EWT tokens over the course of ten years for the purpose of incentivizing adding further staked security and having network participants be rewarded for the continued positive growth of the overall Energy Web Chain.
Table of Energy Web Tokens distribution rewards by year.
In addition to the allocated tokens to to reward users for staking and validating, transaction fees incured on the Energy Web Chain are also rewarded to network validators similar to most other networks for their continued services of maintaining the network.
While previously an ERC-20 token much like many tokens have started out. The EWT has since migrated from its beginnings on Ethereum onto its own platform, the Energy Web Chain!
The general tokenomics and token allocation of EWT can be seem in the infographic below. There are is a total finite supply of 100 million EWT with a current 69 million in circulation at the time of writing (Oct 30th 2022). While 10% (10 Mil) of the total supply has been allocated towards those participating in securing the network over the course of the next decade. The rest of these tokens have been allocated towards other goals ranging from funding further development of the ecosystem by other corporations and community members, rewarding existing and new members of the Energy Web Foundation & rewarding the founding team and organizations thats behind enabling this innovative idea to gradually build into a reality of where our global power grid is shifting towards.
From companies around the world looking to operate on the Energy Web grid by leveraging the network thru feeding the system EWT for payments to other companies that are interoperable with fiat payment railways and the network, to paying for microservices on operations such as validating digital credentials of certain devices, all the way to individuals and other businesses rewarded with EWT for generating energy ready to be shared and distributed. The use cases for the EWT aligns perfectly with the goals the Energy Web Foundation has in mind of incentivizing the shift towards clean energy through an incentivized ecosystem of users being rewarded for providing, using and operating through trusted verifiable clean renewable resources. Creating an asset that can not only operate as a store of value representing the value of energy in the network but also a simple medium of exchange and account of value within their respective network.
Final Thoughts on the Energy Web Project
The idea of creating a decentralized network to augment and facilitate the planets energy grid is rather ambitious, but not novel as during the 2017 Alt-Coin phase there was a plethora of other projects that had a very similar goal of distributed energy and utilizing blockchain immutability and transparency to create a more efficient energy market. There may be an abundance of reasons why those projects are no longer relevant in todays market, whether it be a lack of funding, direction, manpower or just being straight up scams and rugpulls.
Energy Web has gone far beyond just pitching the idea and creating a token, but rather they’ve gone and achieved countless successful Proof of Concepts while gathering some of the largest players in not just the energy sector, but even across the blockchain industry through tech companies and investment firms alike joining into the Energy Web Foundation. With members as big as Shell, R3, Ripple, Wipro, Vodafone & countless other multinational corporations and regulators all on board with Energy Web’s initiative its hard to imagine that even if there were other competitors in Energy Webs vision to compete against a conglomerate like team of that status.
From the goal of the project to decarbonize and migrate our grid over onto a DLT fit for following I-REC standards fit under the World Economic Forum’s SDG agendas, to the universally open permissionless self sustaining ecosystem for every network participant to also be incentivized to switch towards renewables and connecting their identities onto the chain. Betting on Energy Web as a core player in the new infrastructure of our energy systems is gradually becoming to look more like a bet on the largest players in the industry shift towards an interconnected grid for clean renewables. It’s already happening & theres nothing any of us can do to stop it.
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Hey, thanks for taking the time to read my work. I’m currently in my 3rd year of Economics and Finance. Some of my hobbies consist of sports, working out and staring at price charts & spending too much time drawing connections within the digital asset space.
I initially began interested in the crypto space after frustrations with legacy markets and their lack of automation in regards to settlements. From the second I read about the Ethereum ecosystem, I fell in love. An entire ecosystem built on one platform that anybody can access? Unheard of, until now.
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