Austrian energy utility embraces blockchain

Wien Energie is on the cusp of producing blockchain applications which can facilitate green electricity provision and electric vehicle charging.

Chief Innovation Officer Astrid Schober told Reuters during the German E-World of Energy fair, “We are testing blockchain-based services in Vienna’s Viertel Zwei and once we have collected enough experience there, we will develop business models and bring them to market.”
Wien Energie
“It may be overoptimistic but services may become available this year as we are trying to be active and build the know-how in our company fast,” she added.

Viertel Zwei is an office and residential area that has marketed itself over he past decade as a green city district for urban living based on sustainability.

Blockchain is a distributed computerized record of transactions or other data carried out without the need for an intermediary and immune to alterations later. It appeals to the energy industry, which must handle increasingly complex transactions between big and small producers and consumers, and corporate entities, as more decentralized renewable energy volumes arrive.

Energy companies hope to streamline back-office processes, reduce risk, better protect against cyber threats and ultimately save costs.

Wien Energie can access the 2 million retail and 235,000 commercial customers it supplies already. The company is also part of Enerchain, which groups 35 European utilities participating in tests to create a trading platform for electricity and gas, and eventually to perform B2B trading.

Schober said, however, that her company was aware of the disruptive potential of blockchain.

“If the technology means there are no intermediaries any more, it becomes an issue for us, so we are actively looking into other business models,” she said.

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