EDF Hedera carbon neutral
Cryptocurrencies,  Technology

Seeking carbon neutrality, French utility giant EDF turns to Hedera

The power company plans to use the Hedera Hashgraph blockchain to deploy a tokenized carbon offset and credit system, joining its governing council as a network node operator

French utility giant Électricité de France (EDF) has joined the governing council of enterprise blockchain solution Hedera Hashgraph as part of its quest to become carbon neutral.

According to a March 4 announcement, EDF—the second largest power company worldwide according to industry news outlet Power Technology—joined the Hedera Governing Council to operate a node of the network. The company will be in good company as Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, Google, IBM, LG Electronics, Standard Bank Group, Tata Communications, University College London, and Wipro are all already members.

EDF company plans to use Hedera’s blockchain network in an attempt to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Gilles Deleuze, principal researcher for systems risk assessment at the firm’s research and development department, said that the network will be used to develop greenhouse gas certificates and decentralized electricity systems:

“In the near future, distributed computing will support increasingly decentralized electrical systems, complex supply chains and exchanges of digital assets, energy certificates, GHG credits, and more. Multiple pieces of the distributed ledger technology ecosystem will form the puzzle pieces that make this vision a reality.”

EDF’s cloud and blockchain subsidiary, Exaion, will start offering Hedera’s network as part of its blockchain-as-a-service offering alongside smart contract-enabled blockchain Tezos (XTZ). Deleuze explained that the company plans to use the Hedera Token Service “to deploy a carbon offset and credit system on Hedera.”

EDF is far from the first power company to embrace blockchain as strongly as many are rejecting cryptocurrency mining farms. The industry-funded Electric Power Research Institute has created a Utility Blockchain Interest Group, aimed at helping electric utilities “develop technical understanding and business use cases regarding blockchain technology.”

Japanese multinational Fujitsu began a blockchain pilot program in early 2019 aimed at making it easier for power companies to sell electricity to each other directly. It found that a B-to-B blockchain could help relieve stress on power grids substantially when usage is very high. And last spring, the blockchain infrastructure services firm BlockCypher teamed up with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a consumer-to-consumer power trading system. 

Carbon credits are an even bigger field of interest, with projects ranging from the Interwork Alliance—a blockchain industry group whose members include the likes of Accenture, Microsoft, and ING Bank—seeking to set standards for sustainability tokens across different protocols to a project using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to trade the carbon offset value of a single tree, with its value growing with the newly planted sapling each token represents.

While companies like EDF are trying to leverage cryptocurrencies to get their greenhouse gas emissions in check, other companies like Tesla have been accused of greenwashing by claiming to be environmentally aware while damaging the environment—and their green credibility—by investing in power-hungry bitcoin mining.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.