Bringing Renewable Energy to the World Using Blockchain Technology
Modern energy services are vital to human well-being and to a country’s economic development, yet according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), globally 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity. It’s thought that around 95 percent of these people are in either sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, with 80 percent in rural areas.
Ethereum-based platform ImpactPPA is attempting to turn on the lights using the power of the blockchain.
Selected as one of the top three most promising ICOs at this year’s North American Bitcoin Conference, ImpactPPA aims to disrupt renewable energy to finance and accelerate global clean energy production by decentralizing and tokenizing energy generation through power purchase agreements (PPAs). To achieve this, the platform is using blockchain technology, smart contracts and its energy protocol, the SmartPPA.
The project white paper describes how, right now, energy financing and distribution is bottlenecked by large, centralized NGOs and government agencies that have established an unwieldy financing system that can take years from proposal to product implementation.
The SmartPPA is the lynchpin of the new system and permits anyone, anywhere, to create a proposal for a project of any size. Even though ImpactPPA will allow users worldwide to access clean energy on a mobile device, the platform is primarily focusing on the emerging economies in the world.
Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, ImpactPPA CEO Dan Bates explained that the current funding process with centralized NGOs is “too cumbersome and costly for many developing nations,” leaving many countries and their populations with limited access to power.
“ImpactPPA’s use of the blockchain and the crowd dramatically changes this paradigm, tapping into the vast potential of the socially minded impact investor and concerned citizen, looking to benefit the well-being of others while mitigating climate change,” he said.
As a company that has already been working in the traditional renewable energy (wind and solar) space for over 10 years, with projects on the ground in 35 countries, ImpactPPA’s platform is now ready to deploy with the blockchain component.
According to Bates, the team has more than 200 megawatts in discussion for PPAs around the world that they expect to begin executing within the next six months. Through its pay-as-you-go model for power, ImpactPPA is providing the most remote and underserved populations the chance to rapidly fund and deploy clean energy solutions that improve their quality of life, giving users the chance to purchase and consume energy on an as-needed basis.
“There is great need for our solutions in rural Africa as well as island nations like Puerto Rico and Haiti, which have been affected by hurricanes, just to name a few examples,” said Bates. “But as a company, we are interested in working everywhere and anywhere there is a need for power.”
ImpactPPA is currently working with the Haitian government and local partners to provide power to 42 of their coastal communities that have been left without power since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The platform is planning on working with NGOs in the future too.
Delivering this energy to smart meters that are connected to the blockchain allows for government, utility companies, businesses or individuals to decentralize the flow of power while using the best of the blockchain to ensure trust and security of the power generated and transmitted, Bates explained.
Built on the Ethereum platform, ImpactPPA will sell its asset-based MPAQ token to enable projects, typically microgrids, to be quickly deployed.
“MPAQ token holders will be able to review and vote on proposed projects for funding by the company, giving the token-holding community a voice in the conversation about which projects should be funded,” Bates said.
ImpactPPA expects to begin its MPAQ token sale on April 22, 2018, coinciding with Earth Day, for funding projects currently in the pipeline.
It will also sell a GEN Credit to be used by consumers of the electricity generated by the renewable energy systems. It is priced in kWh and is determined by the PPA that it is attached to. Bates added that 30 percent of all net profits from implemented PPAs will be credited toward the platform’s GEN Pool. On a quarterly basis, and as long as the GEN Pool has a value of at least $100,000, ImpactPPA will use the accumulated GEN Pool to repurchase MPAQ tokens.
“It is this GEN Credit that will be exchanged by end users, buyers or proxies for the energy created by the renewable energy systems delivered to fulfill the SmartPPAs,” said Bates. “It is used to insure delivery of energy, manage storage devices, create interconnected data networks, and enable new economic models for the millions upon millions of people who will be positively impacted by the access to power.”
For Bates, the platform will deliver positive social impact in any form.
Energy begets an improved quality of life, education and self-empowerment, but energy is just the beginning for ImpactPPA.