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Energy Cast Podcast: Carbon trading and blockchain

Carbon Markets Graph
The world's regulated Carbon markets. There's no central market, which creates an opportunity for a technology like Swytch to address the issue.Credit: The World Bank

Energy Cast is a podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the energy industry chain, including electric vehicles, renewables, generation and more! Jay Dauenhauer created the show and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.

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I’ve been wanting to cover a guest who has a unique energy data technology for a while.  A few weeks ago I was approached by Jennifer Hansen at 43PR in California  about an Austin-based client using blockchain technology.

Swytch.io is a technology company or “project,” run by the non-profit Token Commons Foundation.  Though they have an app ready to launch at the end of October ’18, Swytch CEO Evan Caron says the company’s real product is a blockchain backbone by which other developers can create their own applications.  In Swytch’s case, the are attempting to build a network for reporting carbon dioxide emissions and reduction efforts in an effort to create a worldwide trading scheme between the two.

Swytch’s technologies marries two of the more complicated concepts out there, carbon trading and blockchain technology.

We discussed carbon trading last time in Episode 8.  Though there are many schemes across the world attempting to price carbon and ultimately reduce emissions, there is no global regulatory body governing all carbon-emitting activity.  Personally, I doubt such an entity will ever exist, and politically, it would be a libertarian’s worst nightmare!

However, Swytch eschews the command-style politics by employing blockchain technology, which is ironically many libertarians’ favorite technologies.

Any blockchain technology — whether Swytch or the popular crypto-currency Bitcoin — exists online, as a file shared by all its users, and all transactions in the history of the blockchain are stored on this file.  Theoretically, if billions of users have this file, it would be nearly impossible to corrupt because a hacker would have to hack everyone.

Swytch says their program would essentially begin as a database, with users reporting energy, and carbon, savings.  For reducing carbon, users would receive a Swytch Token, similar to a Bitcoin, which would ultimately be redeemed for monetary value.

I like the idea that consumers, and even large utilities, could be rewarded under this scheme.  And I also like the voluntary, non-compulsive nature of the program.  If the world really wants to do something about CO2, a system like this is probably the best chance for a global, unified marketplace. (This podcast originally aired in September 2018).


Dauenhauer is a member of the DISTRIBUTECH International advisory committees. Clarion Energy is the parent company of DISTRIBUTECH. Join us in October for the virtual DISTRIBUTECH+ series! Read more information below:


Energy Cast Podcast is hosted biweekly by Jay Dauenhauer.

Learn more about the podcast here.

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