Korea’s Biggest Power Utility is Developing a Microgrid on a Blockchain

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), South Korea’s largest power utility company has announced that it is pursuing a plan to develop a blockchain-based microgrid dubbed the ‘Future Micro Grid’.

Revealing the information in an announcement posted on its website on November 18, KEPCO President and CEO Kim Jong-gap stated that the proposed ‘KEPCO Open MG’ framework will create an ‘open energy community’ that will bring together elements of existing microgrid technology with a blockchain implementation.

KEPCO Open MG Framework

According to KEPCO, prior microgrid setups made up of small photovoltaic cells, wind turbines and energy storage devices had difficulty in supplying stable power to end users, but this problem has potentially been solved with KEPCO Open MG’s use of a fuel cell as a power source.

Using power-to-gas (P2G) technology, electricity is converted into hydrogen and stored until it it is needed, at which point it is then converted back to electricity using a fuel cell. This creates a vast improvement in energy independence and efficiency when compared with existing microgrids, and it also does not emit any greenhouse gases, which makes it good fir the environment.

In addition to these benefits, KEPCO Open MG is also likely to impact positively on the economic side of things by playing a key role in the development of energy infrastructure that will underpin the so-called hydrogen economy.

Quoted in the announcement, President Kim said,

“The three major trends in the future of the energy industry are decarbonization, decentralization, and digitalization. Through this project, KEPCO will show the speed of new and renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects. We will take a step forward as an energy platform provider to drive energy conversion and digital conversion.”

Blockchain Implementation

Referencing KEPCO Open MG’s blockchain use case, the announcement stated that the framework enables easy connection to improve operational efficiency. Using its blockchain implementation, electricity can now be traded across different microgrids, which potentially removes the existing system connection bottleneck that constricts microgrid growth.

According to KEPCO, unlike the prior situation where each microgrid provider used different technical standards creating interoperability problems, KEPCO Open MG will enable network operators, customers and other energy stakeholders to take part in the marketplace and interact beneficially with each other.

The company further revealed that it plans to construct the world’s first mega-wattage energy-independent microgrid under the KEPCO Open MG framework. While the system has not been launched yet, KEPCO indicated that provinces to take part in the project will be announced before the end of the year, with talks currently ongoing among various stakeholders in the microgrid ecosystem.

Author: David Hundeyin
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Azerbaijan Finds Blockchain Solutions for Legal, Housing, Utility Sectors

Azerbaijan has revealed its plans to use blockchain technology to improve the efficiency of the country’s legal system a well as in the housing and utilities sector. In particular, smart contracts will be rolled out.

According to local reports, the initiative of the Azerbaijani justice ministry was outlined in a meeting earlier this week that included a discussion of its implementation in the country.

It was stated that smart contracts will, with time, come to replace the standard contracts between customer and utility provider.

Chairman of the Azerbaijan Internet Forum Osman Gunduz spoke to the regional news outlet Trend News Agency, saying that the switch ”will ensure transparency and will allow to suppress the cases of falsification in this area”. Gunduz added that the citizens will benefit from being able to control the processes themselves for the first time.

Right now, the Ministry of Justice provides over 30 electronic services and around 15 forms of online information systems and registries, which Gunduz believes are key areas for blockchain solutions. In practice, he says that blockchain technology can be successfully implemented wherever it relates to registries.

Another area that he thinks that the technology can be particularly important is in that of ”electronic courts”, where he says there has been a lack of experimentation, operating in just ”a few judicial instances yet”.

Last month, Trend News Agency reported that IBM had plans to collaborate with Azerbaijan’s central bank in an effort to implement blockchain technology as part of a five-year economic plan for ”digital transformation”. The initiative has ambitions to modernize the country’s banking sector, in turn, benefiting the aggregate economy.

Author: Amelia Trapp
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