Energy Web 2022 Lookback: Navigating the Storm Before the Calm
Let’s dive into the past 12 months and reflect on how Energy Web’s technology helped companies navigate the energy transition!
It borders on cliche at this time of year to look back on the previous 12 months and reflect on what an eventful year it has been. But within the orbit that Energy Web occupies — namely the intersection of the global energy transition and Web3 technology — even hyperbole seems inadequate to describe what we witnessed in 2022.
From an energy and climate perspective this year was record-setting in ways both horrifying and inspiring. While the energy transition is more urgent than ever, there are encouraging signs that 2022 may well be a critical tipping point in the trajectory towards net-zero.
Meanwhile, in the Web3 and crypto world, well… you already know what an exhausting year it’s been, with headlines ranging from merely disappointing to downright infuriating.
So how did Energy Web navigate such turbulent and tumultuous times?
As anyone who’s weathered a storm well knows, outcomes are largely determined by a mix of advance preparation and sound decision making when the going gets rough. Nobody could have predicted what a mess 2022 turned out to be, but in hindsight Energy Web benefitted from both strategies.
In terms of laying a solid foundation, we’re unusually well-positioned amongst Web3 organizations to withstand the current moment thanks to our laser-focus on building solutions for a specific industry. Having collectively invested tens of thousands of hours into designing, deploying, and refining solutions with our members over the past six years, we’re crystal clear about what real-world problems we can solve and where we can (and can’t) create value in the energy transition. Thus instead of relying on speculative crypto nonsense to fuel our growth, we generate steady revenues by delivering tangible business advantages to our partners in the here and now.
When it came to in-the-moment actions, this year we made a subtle but important strategic change that will help us ride the tailwinds of accelerating clean energy investment while avoiding the headwinds that befell much of the tech/crypto industries. In short, we transitioned from offering the Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) as a stack of standalone components to bundling those components into three comprehensive solutions: Green Proofs, Data Exchange, and Asset Management. With this shift not only have we found strong product-market fit, we’ve also enabled a more flexible and scalable commercial model that shares elements with other popular open-source projects.
As we take stock of the last year and look ahead to 2023, we’re in an extremely strong position to deliver against our mission even as the world around us remains chaotic. We’re not going to change course, or sit around and wait for conditions to improve. Instead, we’re going to continue on our journey, with three themes as our guide:
Theme 1: Solve Real Problems
Within the Web3 world there’s been a historical tendency to focus on attributes of technology rather than their practical implications. This was always a dubious practice, but with the recent fiascos in the crypto industry it’s now entirely unviable. Advertising a solution as “decentralized” or “self-sovereign” is meaningless unless you can articulate the ends that justify those means.
This year we took this lesson to heart. Recognizing both the capabilities as well as limitations of EW-DOS, we honed in on a few narrow use cases where our technology provides material business benefits relative to alternative solutions. Our commitment to problem-solving is reflected in both our communications and commercial strategy. Highlights from 2022 include:
- Helping distribution utilities strengthen cybersecurity while improving visibility into remote grid assets.
- Helping the aviation industry scale markets for sustainable fuel.
- Helping grid operators and aggregators coordinate the operation of virtual power plants.
- Helping electric vehicle owners simplify their charging experiences.
Theme 2: Productize Solutions
Back in 2019 we first envisioned EW-DOS as a box of Legos: interoperable building blocks that companies could mix and match to build bespoke creations. This approach has proven reasonably successful in developing minimum viable products, but it’s not scalable in production. To maximize our impact we need to make the adoption of EW solutions as transactional and repeatable as possible, while minimizing the need for us as an organization to assist with customization and implementation. In short, we need to get closer to offering curated (or even pre-assembled) Lego sets. For Energy Web this means eventually offering solutions under multiple commercial models, with fully self-hosted and managed services options available. This year we took a few small steps in this direction with the release of Energy Web RPC nodes in the AWS Marketplace, and next year we’ll be announcing much more in this space.
Theme 3: Emphasize Execution, Not Just Innovation
Innovation is, and always will be, a core part of our organizational DNA. But 2022 is the first end-of-year cycle where instead of thinking primarily about what prototypes we’ll deliver, or what technologies we want to experiment with in the new year, our focus is on executing on our roadmap to deliver three core solutions in production, at scale. Whereas in the past we measured success by our engineering output, or our partnerships, as we mature as an organization and enter a new stage in our lifecycle we will prioritize impact and adoption above all else. Looking ahead to the end-of-year report for 2023, we want headlines not to focus simply on the release of a green EV charging solution, but on how many drivers are using it; not just on partners experimenting with our technology, but operating markets with it; and not just plans to decarbonize crypto mining, but how many miners have been certified.
In sum, we’re excited about the future and can’t wait to carry our mission forward next year!
About Energy Web
Energy Web is a global non-profit accelerating the clean energy transition by developing open-source technology solutions for energy systems. Our enterprise-grade solutions improve coordination across complex energy markets, unlocking the full potential of clean, distributed energy resources for businesses, grid operators, and customers. Our solutions for enterprise asset management, data exchange, and Green Proofs, our tool for registering and tracking low-carbon products, are underpinned by the Energy Web Chain, the world’s first public blockchain tailored to the energy sector. The Energy Web ecosystem comprises leading utilities, renewable energy developers, grid operators, corporate energy buyers, automotive, IoT, telecommunications leaders, and more. More information on Energy Web can be found at www.energyweb.org or follow us on Twitter @EnergyWebX