Interview with Brianna L Welsh, Vice President, Partnerships, Sindicatum Blockchain Technologies, Singapore
Panellist at Asian Power & Energy Summit, 18-19 May 2019 in Manila
Speaker at The Future Energy Show Thailand, 28-29 November 2019 in Bangkok
Speaker at The Future Energy Show Vietnam, 24-25 March 2020 in Ho Chi Minh City – to see all 60 speakers: http://bit.ly/30QhzI2
Brianna leads partnerships for Sindicatum Blockchain Technologies’ Asia-based stakeholders. Prior to joining SBT, Brianna was Chief Operating Officer for a Singaporean technology start-up that was spun off into a US-based media platform. She was formerly managing EMEA partnerships for an e-commerce start-up in London. She also spent five years in New York in M&A Advisory and Management Consulting, focused on Post-Merger Integration and Private Equity. She holds board advisory positions with a female empowerment start-up ad with the Clinton Foundation’s 20/30 Initiative.
Sindicatum Blockchain Technologies has developed a blockchain-based solution to record the environmental attributes of electricity generation data to help digitize, standardize, and democratize the global market for renewable energy credits. Issuing a ‘Reneum’ token for 1 MWh of energy produced by any green energy project, SBT serves as a digital marketplace to facilitate the exchange of renewable energy certificates, supporting the sustainability targets of companies worldwide.
Before the Asian Power & Energy Summit last year in May, Brianna took some time to share her thoughts on blockchain and energy in Southeast Asia.
What about the power and energy sector makes you tick?
As climate awareness continues, right now is the most exciting time in history to be working in the renewable energy space. With costs of many technologies approaching or already at cost parity with fossil fuels, it now makes both social and commercial sense to participate in the energy transition, meaning we are going to see an unprecedented mass adoption of clean energy. There are few industries out there that have the capacity of influencing such positive change in the world, and it’s incredibly motivating to go to work every day feeling that you are legitimately adding value in a substantive way.
2. How does SBT view the role of the private sector in developing solutions for a more sustainable energy future?
Because disruptive innovation is necessary for the private sector to remain competitive, most technology and process improvements are driven by private companies. Adopting new technologies like blockchain, AI, IoT and 3D printing will be prioritized as they facilitate scale and growth through cost-efficiencies.
3. What are South East Asia’s most pressing energy priorities?
As Southeast continues to industrialize and urbanize, consumption of energy is expected to rise dramatically; in the next 20 years, the energy needs of ASEAN members is projected to grow by 80%. To support this growth, the region urgently needs easily available and affordable energy and universal electricity access. Simultaneously, the region is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change given much of the low-lying coastal regions that are plagued by changing weather patterns. These conflicting priorities mean that significant investment in renewable energy is essential to balance out the currently heavily fossil-fuel generated power portfolio.
4. What are the roadblocks to energy players embracing digitization, and how can they be overcome?
The traditional energy market was designed with an analogue business model; one that catered for centralized generation and passive consumers. Shifting to a decentralized, differentiated system with active consumers or “prosumers”, means rules and regulations need to transform entirely, which poses a threat to incumbents and a new challenges for regulators alike. To overcome these challenges, increased collaboration and education of benefits (both from a cost and efficiency standpoint) needs to occur. Likewise, it will be increasingly important for incumbents to connect with data-savvy companies to establish direct relationships with end consumers.
5. Why is Asia ripe for blockchain-energy applications, and what are the most exciting ones out there?
Asia has established itself as a blockchain leader; Japan, Korea, China and Singapore have become the hotbeds for instrastructure and financing developments in the space. Regulators have proven to be receptive to the technologies, being quick to respond with favourable compliance policies. However, energy-blockchain startups are actually lagging a bit, due to the prevailing market conditions in the region. Much of the retail sector is not unbundled yet, and the prevalence of state-owned enterprises and strict monopolies leaves little room for innovation. However, with growing market liberalization will come increased competition, along with the more progressive market incumbents aiming to drive growth. These include:
1) Australia’s PowerLedger facilitates peer-to-peer renewable energy, showcased through a trading pilot with BCPG in Bangkok
2) Korea’s Swytch manages carbon tracking and offers a carbon credit exchange platform
Brianna will next speak at The Future Energy Show Vietnam 2020 on “Learning from others: Digitization of energy.” You can register for free to learn from her and 60 other speakers at http://bit.ly/36fDvNP.