PJM subsidiary to test blockchain for trading RECs


The Energy Web Foundation (EWF) has partnered with PJM Environmental Information Services, a subsidiary of grid operator PJM Interconnection, to develop and test a blockchain-based platform for trading renewable energy certificates (RECs). 

While PJM’s current REC platform tracks certificates at the megawatt-hour scale, the test platform will create and track them at the kilowatt-hour scale. 

EWF said in a press release that its goal is to demonstrate how “tens or hundreds of thousands” of distributed energy assets could participate in REC markets, in which low costs and ease of transactions would facilitate peer-to-peer participation even by small rooftop solar installations. 

EWF has conducted a tiny pilot, for example, in which its headquarters building in Berlin matches its energy consumption with the output of solar panels on two houses. 

The EWF-PJM project is intended to show that PJM’s REC trading market could be run using blockchain, and to enable PJM to investigate blockchain’s potential benefits “to improve the security, transparency, and transaction costs” of the REC trading market known as GATS.  (GATS is administered in the PJM region by a PJM subsidiary.)

The test platform’s features will be informed and tested by PJM and various market participants.

The platform will use EWF’s Energy Web Origin toolkit for renewable energy markets, which runs on the blockchain Energy Web Chain.  The platform will be open source; once completed it could be modified and adopted by “any REC, GO, I-REC or other green attribute registry or issuing body across the globe,” said EWF spokesperson Doug Miller in an email.

The project will run in a simulated environment, with no transactions and no exchange of dollars; the REC trading market known as GATS will continue to operate as usual. 

Lower costs and improved ease of use, says the press release, should result from standard, automated processes—for physical asset registration, asset authentication through digital signatures, secure data logging, REC creation and validation, REC ownership registration, and REC retirement.

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization serving 65 million people from the Mid-Atlantic region to Chicago.

The Energy Web Foundation was formed as a partnership between U.S.-based Rocky Mountain Institute and Germany’s Grid Singularity.


Correction: This article was corrected at 10:26 AM EST on October 26. The original stated that the partnership was with PJM Interconnection, and we have clarified that the partnership is with PJM Environmental Information Services, a subsidiary of the grid operator.

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