Nevada’s utilities agency looks to blockchain to track renewable energy credits

October 12, 2018
Chris Wheal

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has become the latest US government agency to consider blockchain technology for power utility services.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy producers in Nevada earn PECs that can be sold to utilitiesAccording to a statement this week, the commission is investigating whether a blockchain-based solution would help track and certify Portfolio Energy Credits (PECs) in a better way for meeting the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Nevada’s Energy Portfolio Standard requires NV Energy, the utility company that serves almost all of Nevada, to derive or save a minimum percentage of the electricity it sells from renewable energy resources or energy efficiency measures.

Renewable energy producers in Nevada earn PECs that can be sold to utilities that then use them to comply with the Standard. One PEC represents one kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

Commissioner Ann Pongracz said that the current PEC tracking system – NVTREC – is becoming obsolete. She said that NV Energy no longer maintains the software and that is putting additional demands on commission staff’s limited time resources.

She added that an alternative tracking system, the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System, is used in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, but it has a 1 MW threshold, which makes it “not well suited to providing the value of PECs to smaller generators”.

In the meeting last month, she asked that the investigation was expanded to include alternative technologies in addition to blockchain. Those additions were made and the order was approved.

A further four utilities and the New York Power Authority are currently studying the potential of using blockchain technology for smart contracts. And in Arizona regulators have opened a docket to explore the potential of blockchain in the state’s energy sector.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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