Public Utilities Commission of Nevada Look at Blockchain for Energy Credit Tracking System


The State of Nevada Considers Blockchain for Energy Credit System

Worried that the current energy tracking system is becoming obsolete, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada is looking to adopt blockchain for its energy credit tracking system.

The government agency charged with supervising and regulating power utility services in the state had last month explored the possibilities of adopting a blockchain-based solution to track and certify Portfolio Energy Credits (PECs) in a better way for meeting the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard. One PEC represents one kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

PUC Commissioner Ann Pongracz said the agency is worried because “the current PEC tracking system, NVTREC, is becoming obsolete”, Pongracz added that the “investor-owned NV Energy, the utility company that serves almost all of Nevada, no longer maintains the software and that is putting additional demands on commission staff's limited time resources.”

Currently, renewable energy producers in the state earn PECs that can be sold to utilities that then use them to comply with the Standard.

An alternative being considered is the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System. However, Pongracz said because it has a threshold of 1 MW (megawatt), it is “not well suited to providing the value of PECs to smaller generators.”

In seeking a better solution, the agency's Commissioner Bruce Breslow and its Chairman Ann Wilkinson have expressed support for implementing blockchain technology, but have also asked the staff to continue to investigate alternative technologies as well.

Several government agencies before PUC had also shown interest in adopting blockchain technology for better energy operations.

In July, a group of four utilities including the New York Power Authority teamed up to study the potential of smart contracts for the state's power system. The Arizona Corporation Commission has also started the investigation for the potential for blockchain technology in its energy sector.

Back in March, IT giant Cognizant said in a report that the utility space is evolving into a distributed and smart power grid.

The firm further set out the various blockchain-based (for permissioned, private ledgers) use cases – such as energy credit management, the promotion of green energy, asset optimization, payments within micro-grids, prepaid smart meters and payments to distributed generation asset owners.

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