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Austrian Utility Giant Trials Blockchain Energy Trading

(@garrettkeirns) | Published on February 16, 2017 at 18:20 GMT
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Wien Energie, Austria’s largest utility conglomerate, is taking part in a new blockchain trial focused on energy trading.

The conglomerate is working with Vancouver-based BTL Group, as well as EY’s Austrian outfit, on the project. The firm, according to its website, provides power to more than two million people, as well as thousands of industrial and agricultural customers in Austria.

In statements, Wien Energie indicated that it wanted to explore new avenues for tracking energy assets, with the aim of reducing the cost of doing so. The trial is expected to last three months, from March to May of this year.

Wien Energie CEO Michael Strebl said in a statement:

"Blockchain technology is a further digitization trend in the energy industry. As Austria's largest energy service provider, we want to actively make use of the technology and its chances for our customers and us."

The first publicly acknowledged blockchain trial for Wien Energie, representatives said that it would consider whether the solutions developed are commercially viable, though there’s no clear timeline as to when any products based on blockchain might be released.

It’s also the latest signal from the energy industry about its interest in blockchain.

Germany-based RWE has been testing ethereum for various use cases, partnering last year with startup Slock.it, the firm behind the now-defunct DAO project. Ethereum has also been leveraged by other startups looking to retool how energy can be traded.

And while not focused specifically on the energy trade, the US Department of Energy began soliciting research proposals related to the tech in January.

Power Line image via Shutterstock

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that BTL Group was headquartered in Toronto.

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