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A letter from Energy Web CEO Walter Kok

Where We’ve Been—And Where We’re Going Next

It is sometimes said that the energy sector—and grid operators in particular—can be risk-averse, not very fast paced to innovate, and not amongst the first to adopt digital technologies. But as I look back on the past few years and the evolution of the Energy Web ecosystem and technology, I must and can only conclude the opposite. The industry is powering forward with impressive speed and appetite for an innovative, open and open-source digital infrastructure that accelerates the low-carbon energy transition.
The global energy sector is powering forward with impressive speed and appetite for innovative open-source digital solutions that support the low-carbon energy transition.
In mid-2019—just two years after Energy Web launched with a dozen founding affiliates—our ecosystem had surpassed 100 companies and together we launched the world’s first public, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector, the Energy Web Chain. They were two incredible milestones accomplished in an impressively short period of time. As the end of 2019 approached, the first applications had migrated onto the EW Chain and 2020 was shaping up to be an even bigger year for the Energy Web network.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, disrupting the global economy and life at home alike. It is a story we all know too well at this point. Yet the Energy Web team, the broader Energy Web ecosystem, and the energy sector overall powered forward. In-person member forums became virtual events. Face time with colleagues in the office became video chats on computer screens. But the work itself—to accelerate the low-carbon energy transition by harnessing the potential of open-source, digital technology—continued with as much passion, determination, and momentum as ever. I’m incredibly proud of all the Energy Web community accomplished in 2020.
The Energy Web technology stack saw numerous advancements, including the recent launch of EW Switchboard for identity and access management across energy-sector applications and markets. Together with our partners we launched EW Zero while fully decarbonizing an entire blockchain, a world first. You’ll read about many more accomplishments in the other ‘chapters’ of this annual report.

Today in these first months of 2021, we sit at a pivotal moment for climate action and the energy transition. Last year tied for the warmest on record. At the same, annual global investment in clean energy surpassed $500 billion for the first time in 2020 and is forecasted to repeat again in 2021. Now all eyes are on the United Nations’ next climate change conference, COP 26, in Scotland later this year.

As for the Energy Web ecosystem, I believe 2021 is the year we start scaling. The technology foundation has been laid. The community is robust. Demonstrations and pilots and proofs of concept have been completed. Now we begin to see a rising tide of full commercial deployments, as grid operators and energy companies around the world start to truly harness the potential of the open-source Energy Web tech stack. The time is right to scale. The time is right to power forward—together.
—Walter Kok, CEO, Energy Web