Canada’s Interac And Alectra Utilities Team Up For Renewable Energy Pilot Based On Blockchain


Blockchain has been deployed in various areas of life such as supply chain management and in the financial sector but it has also seen significant use in the energy sector. Blockchain has been accused of being overly energy-dependent and not compatible with a future with renewable energy. However, it is now being used for that exact same purpose as its sufficient record-keeping nature has been applied in the past for pilots that help with energy distribution of tracking.

The latest of these pilots is by Alectra utilities, which is the second largest island electricity utility in North America and also services major municipalities in Ontario such as Hamilton and Brampton. This pilot is also being backed by Interac, which is a Canadian interbank network that helps to link banks virtually and provide financial services for Canadians for everything from debit card to online banking. Alectra, on their part, service about a million customers in Ontario.

Blockchain And Energy

Interac has been exploring options for some amount of time now and has been looking for various sectors in which blockchain can be applied and be used to improve the current business model. They have taken a page from IBM's book by adopting their use of the hyper ledger framework to send ‘Sparks’ to reward the people who make use of renewable energy and this is built on blockchain in order to ensure the maintenance of data as well as decision-making between the electrical entities that will be involved.

During the peak hours of the day, there is a lot of increased energy use and this puts a lot of strain on the grid and can lead to problems. As such, incentive has been created to encourage customers to make use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy batteries electric vehicle chargers and so on as well as encouraging them to manage their energy usage so as to slow down the amount of demand during peak periods.

The payments of the rewards are quite instant and customers are able to make use of them immediately as the first transactions are recorded using this service were for the purchase of pizza and ice cream and the average user earned about CAD 100 in the two-month pilot where the earning of funds was available. This pilot is efficient because it helps people make better choices when it comes to their energy and rewards them financially for doing so.

The system of micropayments and federated models of corporate control on various networks is already in existence and as such Interac did not need to build new technology but relies on an already built platform and approach. Also, it should be noted that Interac isn’t looking to create a self-sovereign network but instead payments are delivered to their pre-existing network and infrastructure and not a permissionless blockchain.

This pilot has been notable for its swiftness, efficiency and the fact that it is staying true to one of the biggest principles of blockchain and this is not entirely surprising as they have a role as a Consortium of sorts for large Canadian institutions and is used to working with a system similar to this.

It also shows their commitment to creating new systems that run on blockchain as well as seeking out partners that imbibe blockchain principles and want to distribute information in a verified manner and with the right amount of control delegated. With the success of this pilot, Interac could be on their way to revolutionizing not only the blockchain industry in Canada but renewable energy as well.

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