First blockchain pilot aims to reduce curtailment - update

GERMANY: Transmission operator Tennet has launched a blockchain pilot project to test flexible use of households' battery storage to reduce bottlenecks in Germany's electricity transmission network, which are currently triggering curtailment of wind generation.

Tennet is looking to reduce wind curtailment by using blockchain technology

First published: 2 May, 2017; updated: 2 November, 2017

Tennet and its project partner Sonnen, which is providing the fleet of home-based batteries, said the cooperation project, which will run for six months, is a "first of its kind".

Aside from expansion of the transmission networks, use of "flexibilities" like storage could help to reduce the measures required for stabilising network operation, Tennet said.

The blockchain solution was developed by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric, a blockchain framework application hosted by The Linux Foundation, Tennet said.

"The project is the first of its kind using blockchain technology and leads the way to the future integration of renewable energy sources, said Urban Keussen, Tennet vice president.

"We clearly see a potential to develop new possibilities of flexibility through blockchain technology.

"Ultimately, this helps limit the use of expensive curtailment of wind turbines which is needed to stabilize the grid."

In 2016, measures undertaken by transmission system operators to cope with transport bottlenecks in the German electricity grid cost roughly €800 million - much of which was attributable to curtailment of wind power, according to Tennet. The cost is shouldered by electricity consumers.

In May, Tennet's Dutch division said it would use blockchain technology to help balance the Netherland's grid with car batteries.

In this pilot programme, project partner, utility Vandebron will work with owners of electric cars to "make the capacity of their car batteries available to help Tennet balance the grid".

This article was first published on 2 May. Following a new announcement by Tennet on 2 November, the article has been updated to reflect the project timescale, and includes a new quote from the TSO.