Chile leveraging blockchain for green copper
Chile’s national electricity coordinator CEN has started a program called Renova to track each megawatt hour of renewable power from when it’s generated until it’s consumed. By etching this data into the blockchain, the goal is to ensure end users get the clean power they paid for. The blockchain-based platform will track renewable energy, giving miners in the top copper nation more scope to show their green credentials to buyers.Codelco, Chile’s national mining company, is the world’s largest producer of the red metal.
While global electrification is boosting demand for the metal used in wiring, mining companies are also under mounting pressure to reduce their carbon emissions. Producers such as BHP and Anglo American are procuring renewable energy for their mines in Chile, where the solar and wind power industries are booming, reports Bloomberg.
“This platform allows us to quickly enable an accreditation showing the copper is actually green,” CEN President Juan Carlos Olmedo said in an interview.
The platform will play a role in Chile’s efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050, Olmedo said. Without a centralized registry, there’s a risk generators could sell duplicate contracts or certificates would be counted twice, meaning less clean energy would be in use than expected.
The CEN already has real-time access to data on power generation and consumption. It’s now encouraging companies to report the renewable energy contracts they’ve purchased so the data can be entered into the blockchain ledger, helping ensure the megawatt hours are being delivered to their intended recipients.
For miners, the platform is yet another tool to meet sustainability targets. Industry giants have started eyeing green hydrogen - obtained by stripping the gas from water using electrolysers powered by wind and solar - as a replacement for diesel. In time, Renova (the National Registry of Renewable Energies) will be able to issue certificates verifying the hydrogen being purchased is actually green, Olmedo said.
“The granular traceability and audit trails that blockchain can support is especially useful for companies that are working to reach net-zero goals,” said Amanda Ahl, an analyst at BloombergNEF focusing on emerging technologies for the energy sector. “This can be one part of the solution ensuring corporate sustainable goals are on track by verifying emission reduction claims.”
“With RENOVA, companies will be able to know with total certainty if their production processes or products have been effectively made with electricity from the renewable energy sources that they have contracted. In the same way, the generating companies will be able to know the amount, the moment and in which facilities these energies have been produced, as well as verify that they have indeed reached their destination. In addition, we highlight as an important element, which is a platform that will have no costs for users,” said Olmedo in a statement last month.
“Due to its autonomous and independent nature, and given that it has updated and complete information on the entire electricity sector in the country, the CEN is undoubtedly the most reliable institution to conduct a platform of this type. In this way, we will advance to a much more transparent market and we will move steadily and quickly towards carbon neutrality,” he added.