Mobile phone network Vodafone has joined forces with blockchain powered non-profit Energy Web in a bid to harness the flow of power from solar panels, in the latest innovative deployment of blockchain technology in the energy sector. The partnership will see Vodafone turn to Energy Web’s blockchain operating system as the communications platform for edge devices, responsible for generating significant volumes of energy for power grids. At present, the sheer volume of these devices means excess supply for some companies in the sector, creating difficulties in handling and distributing resources as required across the grid. The new SIM-based identity system means this distributed capacity can be more effectively marshalled and controlled, effectively unlocking efficiency in the system. Walter Kok, CEO of Energy Web Foundation, said the system will allow grid operators to better understand and control their distributed resources: “If I say I’m a battery, can be sure I actually am a battery and that I behave in this way. And then once I know that, I can actually start using this asset in how I manage my grid. So that is what we’re building, and of course what we’ve done through the partnership with Vodafone.” Vodafone Blockchain lead David Palmer said the platform could ultimately create a distributed marketplace for digital energy, with SIM private keys allowing individuals devices to sign transactions straight to the blockchain. “The beauty is that all these devices need is to have this connectivity,” said Palmer, something in practice many of them already do. The partnership is only the latest implementation of blockchain technology in the energy sector. If successful, its use could eventually extend to other distributed energy networks and grids, towards increasing the efficiency of energy supplies.