Behind the scenes of Ethereum #5: the 3 main challenges of blockchain in the energy industry

Oct 14, 2020 · 4 min read

Rockside interview with Martin Lim (CEO) and Anjana Jayaweera (Lead Blockchain Developer) at Electrify

In order to build the best transaction relayer, we have interviewed the real ethereum users. Corporates, startups, and consulting companies from different sectors agreed to share with us their day to day challenges of building on ethereum. Here is what we learned from them!

About Electrify

Electrify is building a peer to peer platform to resell the power from small sources to someone else in the same power grid. Their solutions allow a utility company to operate this across a citywide grid. They have successfully launched their P2P platform commercially in Singapore.

Electrify CEO Martin Lim

Bring innovation to the industry

The energy industry is not very well known for innovation. The costs of infrastructure are very high, the power grids are designed for a centralized operating system, and there are not many operators, so it is hard to change the way they run.

The first challenge is to sell utility companies the idea of peer to peer.

When it comes to using blockchain use cases, most utility companies started to trade RECs (renewable energy certificates). It is basically a tracking system that allows people to trade certificates if they produce or consume renewable energy. The problem with the REC trading market is that you buy the certificates based on your volume of consumption of energy but there is no actual proof of that.

So how can this system be more transparent, and prove to people that the transactions occurred? If we can actually prove the source of the energy, we don’t need a certificate and we don’t need RECs. And this is where a blockchain-based peer to peer platform proves itself to be very useful, to provide proof on the source of energy and the data.

Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash

Deal with a high volume of transactions and a need for transparency

The volume of data and the volume of transactions are incredibly high. So running this on the blockchain comes with many operational challenges.

The purpose of the Electrify platform is that users can see how much energy they got transacted. To bring this level of transparency, using a public blockchain such as Ethereum appears to be the right solution. But with such a large amount of data that needs to be hashed, it is very time-consuming and hard to scale with that speed.

Moreover, utilities almost all rely on on-site servers, they have not migrated into the cloud because data security is too important. Cybersecurity is their first concern and they go for physical security first, so asking them to put their data in the blockchain is a tough challenge.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Maintain a great user experience

On the other end, the users have never engaged with their utilities. Most people use energy and then pay the bills: there is no UX or interaction with utilities. So when introducing a peer to peer platform, it is important to generate interest from users and to add a degree of involvement from them, otherwise, it is pointless.

Indeed, the interface and the UX are key.

This is why, at Rockside, we have been focusing on how to make the onboarding process smoother while keeping a full decentralized system. With Rockside APIs, the user doesn’t have to bother about any blockchain-related understanding or knowledge. Rockside manages the interaction with the blockchain, allowing the user to create accounts and perform a transaction with a simple UX.

About Rockside

Rockside is the platform for integrating blockchain in any business. Through a simple and reliable transaction relayer API, Rockside makes sure transactions are executed on time at the best price. The service is fully non-custodial to benefit from the full advantage of blockchain technology. Thanks to Rockside, companies can scale their projects getting rid of complex development and infrastructure.

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