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AWEA 2018: Blockchain finance firm targets wind power

UNITED STATES: A new company has been launched at Windpower 2018 that its founders say will disrupt conventional financing, development and operation of wind projects globally and bring renewable energy to the masses.

Former Goldwind Americas CEO David Halligan aims to open up wind project financing
Former Goldwind Americas CEO David Halligan aims to open up wind project financing

Datawatt Energy will use blockchain financing to build and run wind projects, said co-founder David Halligan, former CEO of Goldwind Americas.

"Wind will be a major portion of our business," said Halligan. "We plan to undertake wind projects globally and hope we are able to unlock wind projects in markets that otherwise would not get done due to financing or offtake limitations."

Blockchain underlies the crypto-currency Bitcoin.

An ordinary member of the public with a Datawatt app on their cell phone could choose to a invest in certain wind or other renewables projects anywhere in the world by buying – for example -- a $1,000 token representing a certain number of kilowatt-hours.

The investor would then reap a reward when and if the project turns a profit.

Halligan and co-founder Evelyn Lim – former managing director at TerraForm Power and former project finance partner at law firm Chadbourne & Parke – spoke on the sidelines of the conference.

Blockchain financing is accurate, encrypted and fast, they say, cutting out middle men and much of the financial and legal fees.

Halligan said such conventional fees for a 100MW wind project might be as much as $10m, and that they could be largely avoided.

No other company that they know of is proposing such blockchain financing of utility-scale renewables projects, they said.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will hold its Windpower 2018 conference and exhibition in Chicago (7-10 May). Windpower Monthly will bring all of the coverage from the show across the week. 

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