Many of you are familiar with the climate challenges the World is facing today. Carbon Dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in the last 650,000 years, seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. A strong and focused action is needed more than ever. However, very few understand that in order to get the climate change challenge solved we need to take planed and structured steps with the technical realities of the existing energy infrastructure taken into consideration.
This is the approach we have started WePower with. Thus far, it has been an instrumental pillar helping us to establish shared work directions with our infrastructure partners Elering, 220 Energia and Eleon as well as gauge the interest from other energy companies across the Europe. Actually, just a couple weeks ago Kaspar, our CTO, has shared our learnings with a team from Statnett, a Norwegian Transmission Systems Operator.
Given this context, I want to use the opportunity here to introduce you to the broader context of the European energy market. This article should give you a better understanding of where the amazing traction of WePower is coming from and why WePower in just a few years might become the key technological solution facilitating energy system transition towards a clean and sustainable future.
Clean Energy for all Europeans
The European Union has consistently been at the forefront of the clean energy adoption and policy innovation. Back in the 1992, the Maastricht Treaty set an objective of promoting stable growth while protecting the environment. In 1997, the Amsterdam Treaty added the principle of sustainable development to the key strategic objectives of the EU. In 2004, the EU defined an ambitious goal to obtain 20% of its total energy consumption requirements with renewable energy sources by 2020. This has meant a 235% increase from the 7% share starting point in a period of just 6 years.
EU’s very systematic approach has led to the share of energy from renewable sources doubling since 2004, to about 17% of final energy consumption. In some EU countries, clean energy has come close to dominating the energy consumption mix — Sweden is at over 50% and Finland is at over 40%. Norway and Iceland, which are the European Economic Area members, have already reached 70% and 73% share respectively.
A big part of the EUs policy efforts has been related to the energy infrastructure improvements. Every country is encouraged to implement smart metering systems that would on one side assist the active participation of consumers in the electricity markets and on the other side would help utility companies and grid operators plan and manage energy grids more efficiently. The EU aims at replacing at least 80% of its electricity meters with smart meters by 2020. This just by itself equals to €45 billion investment into the digitisation of energy infrastructure all across the Union and a vast amount of new opportunities for new services that could be built on top of it.
We have built WePower’s strategy and development roadmap particularly around these changes. They will enable WePower to be at the forefront of the European energy revolution by creating new layer of smart energy services for the decades to come. Our partnerships with Elering, 220 Energia, Eleon and other renewable energy producers show that different energy market participants are also preparing for the change together with us.
The Infrastructure challenge
All these developments have set out a great start towards a smarter, cleaner and consumer driven energy system but at the same time brought a number of major challenges to the energy companies and energy infrastructure managers.
One big challenge has come from the fact that the increasing penetration of renewable energy production into the energy grids increased the complexity of operations required to run and maintain this infrastructure. Energy is a system that needs to be constantly balanced so that the production meets consumption and the other way around at all times. The issue with renewables is that they are variable, hard to predict and thus manage at large scale by their nature. We cannot control the sun, wind or the clouds in the same way as we can control energy production from the fossil fuels. Management of this complexity is one of the biggest challenges preventing faster green energy adoption.
Another big challenge is the financing, or perhaps even more, the monetisation of the new infrastructure. The cost of installing a smart meter in the EU is between €200 and €250 per household on average, which sums up to very large investment amounts when we take the size of region and countries into the consideration. This means that the energy companies cannot just have these systems implemented and running to tick a regulatory box. They need to proactively find solutions that could use the newly implemented infrastructure in a way that would increase the efficiency of their ongoing business operations and also enable new consumers services.
WePower is an enabler
The fact that the European energy sector needs solutions that would create a new layer of services on the digitised grid infrastructure puts WePower in a very attractive position. WePower platform in its first phase offers an open green energy financing and trading platform that provides a simpler, transparent and globally open solution to the currently existing energy investment ecosystem. WePower will help energy companies to run green energy project development process much easier and also tap into the global capital flows for their funding.
In our second and third phases we are expanding the platform even further to offer energy infrastructure management tools and services. They will be particularly tailored towards the challenges the energy companies have with an increasing penetration of green energy production in the grids. The fact that WePower platform is digital and will be scaled across the countries will also provide an opportunity to run cross-border trading activities all across the Europe.
WePower will help energy companies to run green energy project development process much easier and also tap into the global capital flows for their funding.
We have already started our platform tests in Estonia in partnership with energy companies on the energy production, transmission and retail sides. The learnings that we are getting are applicable to nearly all markets in the European energy ecosystem. Once we launch the platform, it will be easily scaled across most of the European countries. We already see a strong interest from other companies in Europe in our offering and we will soon be announcing new European partnerships that we have been working on over the last few months.
All of this indicates that the timing of WePower in Europe is perfect and the application of our solution is much needed. Europe has got an ambition to create an integrated Energy Union powered by clean energy and consumer choice. WePower is built with the same ambition in mind and is heading with a good traction towards becoming one of the centre points of the green European energy union.
We will use the developments happening in Europe to promote WePower blockchain based solution as a way for Europe to offer new services to energy users, which will both benefit them and increase renewable energy adoption. These developments open doors to a large scale WePower token application in Europe, where each European gets value from the innovation brought by energy tokenisation and the WePower system.