Blockchain energy startup Enosi, established last year with joint founder Solar Analytics, is based on the premise of “helping the little guys succeed against the big guys” and driving the transition to Grid 2.0.
Chief executive officer Steve Hoy told The Fifth Estate that consumers have little say over the price of power or where it is sourced. To give them back control the company is “essentially separating wholesale access from the retail” so that anybody can be a retailer, or a “neo-retailer”.
The open-source Enosi energy trading platform will provide the protocols that allow neo-retailers to provide energy services to their customers. The platform uses distributed ledger technology (also known as blockchain technology) to do this.
The company, currently in a capital raising phase, has four co-founders from the energy sector and a handful of management roles.
As well as Mr Hoy – formerly a smart grid systems analyst at IBM – Enosi has attracted several other former energy industry executives and recently appointed AGL’s former senior director of public policy, Stephanie Bashir, who recently joined in an advisory role.
The company also taps into the expertise of advisors and blockchain experts from Sydney-based blockchain incubator Block8.
The startup aims to launch its minimum viable product by the end of the year.
According to Ms Bashir, customer preferences are changing. Customers now wanted more control over their lifestyles.
“The digitalisation of services and new energy technologies enable a more affordable and sustainable customer centric ecosystem,” she said.
“There are new players with innovative business models, offering new service offerings and new ways to fill the gap that traditional energy players have failed to address.
“The energy ecosystem needs to allow for an equal playing field to allow the new competition and growth that will benefit customers and the system overall.”
However, Mr Hoy said it’s currently “hard to tell” if there will be widespread consumer demand for knowing the origin of their energy. This is because it has never been an option.
A yet-to-be released study from Solar Analytics found that upwards of 70 per cent of people surveyed said they would switch retailers to know where their energy was coming from, provided there was no difference in costs.
Enosi’s energy trading platform
Enosi’s platform is expected to reduce energy costs and barriers to entry by lowering regulatory and establishment hurdles, lowering servicing costs, disaggregating the electricity supply chain, increasing competition, and allowing neo-retailers to provide innovative electricity supply and billing arrangements.
For the most part, Mr Hoy says neo-retailers will represent community-based organisations that want to offer their members a community energy sharing scheme of some type.
Mr Hoy said the company was founded on the notion that the big energy retailers weren’t going to disrupt themselves – this would only come from outside.
“The large retail companies don’t want to do innovation on the retail side. They just want to keep the oligarchy where they can extract the rent at the price of the next guy. That’s what they are better off doing. They are better off not innovating.”