Tal.Markt: The revolution in the green electricity market

The Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (Wuppertal public utilities company) (WSW) is the first company in the world to operate a blockchain-based trading platform for green electricity. Using the digital platform “Tal.Markt” customers can now decide for themselves where the electricity they use comes from.

According to information from the German Federal Network Agency, around ten million households purchased green electricity in 2016. While these customers can choose between different suppliers, they haven’t had any influence over the source of their green electricity until now. This is where the Wuppertaler Stadtwerke comes into play. On the digital market place “Tal.Markt”, which was launched at the beginning of 2018, local green electricity providers can introduce themselves and offer their electricity for sale.

Electricity consumers, on the other hand, can select their preferred electricity generation plants in the immediate vicinity and in this way put together their own individual electricity mix.

Engine for progress:

  • Innovative trading platform for green electricity
  • Full transparency for customers in terms of the origin of the green electricity
  • Alternative option for marketing green electricity
  • An opportunity to continue operating existing plants

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Photo: WSW Stadtwerke GmbH

The Wuppertal cityscape is characterized by its unique suspension railway. Around 360,000 inhabitants from a wide range of nations live in the city in the Bergisches Land district. The renewable energy platform Tal.Markt is just as varied in design as the population of the city.

Origin of green electricity validated by the blockchain

The central feature of the project is the incorporation of intelligent measuring systems, which document electricity consumption and production every quarter of an hour and codify them in what is known as a blockchain, a database for managing transaction data. Blockchains store data in a decentralized way and encrypt them to prevent falsification or manipulation, for example by hackers. Using this new technology on “Tal.Markt”, every kilowatt-hour produced and consumed can be clearly allocated to its respective producer or consumer. By means of day-specific visualizations and analyses, customers can actually check on the “Tal.Markt” website how much electricity they have purchased from which plant in the course of the day and how much they have paid the supplier in question for it. The system is based on a syndicated blockchain. In contrast to the extremely energy-intensive public blockchains, syndicated blockchains allow for alternative verification mechanisms and thus consume much less energy.

Since customers only need to set up an energy supply contract with WSW in order to use “Tal.Markt”, they have the option of recompiling their electricity mix as required (in theory every quarter of an hour) and can therefore make their electricity supply as climate-conscious as possible according to their load profile. If a customer always wants to charge his electric car at midday, for example, he could access the majority of the electricity from a photovoltaic plant, since these generally produce most energy at midday. WSW provides the link between producer and consumer and steps in if the selected green electricity plants cannot supply enough energy at any point.

New business model for green electricity plants

Not only does the platform provide transparency with regard to the actual origin of green electricity, but “Tal.Markt” also demonstrates an alternative business model for marketing green electricity without feed-in tariffs in accordance with the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). Until now, the EEG in particular provided incentives and promotion for the development and operation of plants producing electricity from renewable sources. For the majority of the plants, however, the compensation that was agreed for 20 years’ duration will run out in the coming few years, and the operators must reassess whether it is economically viable to continue in business. Since producers get direct access to customers via “Tal.Markt” and can hope for a greater willingness to pay as a result of its local nature, the trading platform offers a means of continuing to operate the existing plants and the opportunity of affording them a second life with environmental and economic benefits. This will improve the climate protection balance of the individual plants and of the overall electricity system.

Photo: WSW Stadtwerke GmbH

"With the help of blockchain technology a unique trading platform for local renewable energy has evolved, which links transparency and local proximity with sustainability and innovation. Tal.Markt makes it possible to purchase green electricity directly from the producer on an individual basis."

Andy Völschow, Head of Energy Management and Trading, WSW Energie & Wasser AG

Partners and sponsors

  • WSW Wuppertaler Stadtwerke GmbH
  • Elblox

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