TenneT, Sonnen, Vandebron and IBM Join Forces on Blockchain Energy Project in Netherlands and Germany


TenneT, sonnen, Vandebron and IBM are joining forces to develop Blockchain for managing the electricity grid in the Netherlands and Germany. This innovative technology is the next step in enabling decentralized flexible energy sources to play a role in the management of the electricity grid.

TenneT Energy Community

Because renewable electricity generation accounts for a growing share in the overall power supply, the electricity grid is becoming more volatile. In the coming years there will be times when conventional energy sources will not be able to fully meet the demand for electricity. To address this, TenneT is working to find new ways of maintaining the security of supply. As part of a broader Digital Transformation Programme, TenneT is exploring the use of a permissioned Blockchain network that uses Hyperledger Fabric to integrate flexible capacity supplied by electric cars and household batteries into the electrical grid.

TenneT CEO Mel Kroon commented:

“These pilot projects are part of TenneT’s broader strategy of preparing the electricity system to accommodate the growing volume of renewable energy.”

TenneT will be testing this new concept in two pilot projects:

Pilot project by Vandebron in the Netherlands

TenneT is responsible for maintaining the balance on the high-voltage grid. To guarantee a continuous supply of electricity, supply and demand have to be balanced 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In the event of imbalance between supply and demand, TenneT makes sure additional electricity is supplied or deploys reserve capacity. In this pilot project, Vandebron will work with customers who own an electric vehicle to make the capacity of their car batteries available to help TenneT balance the grid. Vandebron will provide this service to its customers without compromising the availability of their car battery. The Blockchain enables each car to participate by recording their availability and their action in response to signals from TenneT.

Pilot project by sonnen eServices in Germany

Redispatch measures prevent regional overloads on the grid. This system is necessary, for example in Germany, when wind energy produced in northern Germany cannot be transported to the industrial centres in the south of the country. In this pilot project with sonnen eServices (the energy group of the Sonnen group), a network of residential solar batteries will be made available to help reduce the imposition of limitations on wind energy at times of insufficient transport capacity. The Blockchain presents the operator from TenneT with a view of the available pool of flexibility, ready to activate at the push of the button, after which the Blockchain records batteries’ contribution. This will enable sonnen and TenneT to support the integration of renewable energy sources into the German electricity supply system.

Market parties will be informed about the pilot projects and relevant developments by means of newsletters and market consultation workshops in the Netherlands and Germany. Once the concept has been proven to work, it will be launched and the TenneT Energy Community will be open for other parties to join.

The digital process of verifying and documenting the performance values of these distributed flexible energy devices is delivered using IBM Blockchain, built with Hyperledger Fabric, a Blockchain framework implementation and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Blockchain is suited to connecting multiple parties and large numbers of distributed computed nodes and enabling them to undertake joint action in a scalable, transparent and trusted network. IBM will develop this platform to ensure the verifiability and transparency of the transactions of the small-scale batteries and electric cars. The Blockchain will enable optimal distribution across all markets and functions. This way, TenneT will be able to gain insight and have the possibility to activate flexibility in the energy system, while consumers are facilitated in making their flexibility available to the balancing market.

TenneT is a leading European electricity Transmission System Operator (TSO) with its main activities in the Netherlands and Germany. With 22,500 kilometres of high-voltage connections, we ensure a secure supply of electricity to 41 million end-users. We employ approximately 3,000 people, have an annual turnover of EUR 3.2 billion and an asset value totalling EUR 19 billion. TenneT is one of Europe’s major investors in national and cross-border grid connections on land and at sea, bringing together the Northwest European energy markets and enabling the energy transition. We make every effort to meet the needs of society by being responsible, engaged and connected. Taking power further.

Vandebron supplies 100% renewable energy produced by local sources. The company does this through its marketplace for renewable energy. In its three years of existence, Vandebron has more than 100.000 customers, who are supplied with power from more than 120 local sources. In this way, the company is helping to make the Dutch energy market more sustainable. The energy transition also requires promoting electric transportation; Vandebron has been active in this area of expertise since 2016. The renewable energy company is a pioneer in the field of innovation, customer care and sustainability, and has been named ‘Best Energy Supplier of the Netherlands’.

The sonnen Group is one of the fastest growing companies in Germany. In a ranking of the ‘Top 50 Smartest Companies 2016’ by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), sonnen GmbH was listed alongside Amazon, Facebook and Tesla. Investors in the Allgäu company include the US technology corporation General Electric. sonnen already supplies over 60,000 people globally with clean energy. The sonnenCommunity is an online network based on the Blockchain idea for sharing self-generated power.

IBM is the leader in open-source Blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, IBM is dedicated to supporting the development of openly-governed Blockchains. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement Blockchain applications. For more information about IBM Blockchain, visit ibm.com/Blockchain.

Hyperledger Fabric is an open source Blockchain framework and one of the five Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.