TECH | Jan 28, 2020

Renewables and Energy Bank to save the planet

Maurizio Castagna, Enegan's Research and Development Manager, talks about the innovative solution for the interchange of energy from renewable sources

A study conducted by 26 researchers from the Universities of Stanford, Berkeley, Berlin and Aarhus, headed by Mark Jacobson of the Stanford School of Earth, entitled “100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World”, hypothesizes the feasibility of switching to clean energy, i.e. energy self-sufficiency from renewable sources.

According to this research, the energy transition for the 139 countries analyzed, responsible for 99% of global emissions (including Italy), would lead to the contribution by renewables sufficient to meet 80% of demand in 2030 and 100% in 2050, with an energy mix consisting of 58% solar, 37% wind, 4% hydroelectric and 1% geothermal. All this with an increase in jobs (+24.3 million) and a saving in health care costs of 23 trillion dollars a year because of the reduction in pollution.

In recent years, the growth of renewable sources has been significant: between 2008 and 2018 it was 26.2 GW, thanks also to a substantial drop, over a decade, in the prices of solar energy and energy storage batteries (-80%). The most optimistic estimates in terms of renewable energy demand coverage show an important contribution from digital technologies.

What role can digital technology play in protecting the environment?

“The advent of technology – says Maurizio Castagna, Research and Development Manager at Enegan – will help us to save the planet in a concrete manner, beyond the many declarations of intent. Interesting industrial scenarios will open up, where giving up business to embrace a green economy will certainly not be necessary.

When, in the very near future, we will find ourselves in an autonomously driven car assisted by Artificial Intelligence, with means of transport which speak to each other thanks to IoT and buildings able to interface with other infrastructures thanks also to a precise monitoring of the cities, we will understand that everything which science fiction told us was simply science of the future.”

You recently announced a project to create an “Energy Bank”, what is it?

“The project, implemented by Enegan with the collaboration of Engineering, allows the creation of an actual “bank”, a platform that, through Blockchain, allows those who produce electricity through solar energy to manage the energy produced and not consumed in an effective, safe and profitable way.

This will enable individuals and companies – continues Castagna – to devise a new way of managing their energy services and CO2. The solution allows the implementation of an energy exchange system open to all those who produce and use it, registered with the bank, with the ultimate aim of optimizing the production/accumulation and use of energy from renewable sources. Innovative technologies such as IoT and Blockchain will enable the automatic exchange of information between the equipment and the integration of complex interconnected functions and systems connected to each other”.

What is Blockchain’s role in the Energy Bank?

“For the first time – continues Castagna – we have integrated Blockchain technology into an “atypical banking system”, allowing us to have a shared and unchangeable data structure.

Basically, it consists of a digital register whose entries are grouped in blocks, linked in chronological order, and whose integrity is guaranteed by the use of BlockChain, using the smart contract technique in order to define and complete each energy transaction. These are validated with the application of the notarization, i.e. the certification of each transaction by means of a notary’s digital signature which guarantees the energy in KWh and the energy efficiency performance in White Certificates (in Italian: TEE, Titoli di Efficienza Energetica)”.