The municipality of Stanz im Mürztal is demonstrating what no one in Europe has yet implemented. During the "European Smart Villages Observatory Meeting"1 on May 11 in Graz, the project "Stanz Token" was presented to the European public as a lighthouse project2 of the EU Commission.
Mayor Friedrich Pichler and Riddle&Code’s CPO Kai Siefert flipped the switch, activating the real-time connection of Stanz's first electricity producers and consumers. With this hardware and software solution, the members of the Stanzertal Energy Community (EEG) can adapt their consumption behavior even better to the amount of electricity produced by the community, while retaining full sovereignty over their own data. In the future, the energy that was not consumed will even become its own currency (StanzerTaler). This will strengthen the local economy. Then there’s beer for kilowatts!
"The system is very simple," says Friedrich Pichler, mayor of Stanz and co-founder of the energy community: "All participants can follow the degree of self-consumption of the EEG via an app, read off their own contribution and see in real-time from whom they are currently receiving electricity or to whom it is currently being delivered. " Pichler explains. With the implementation of the project, the digital basis for an optimal distribution of electricity has been created. "Our people in Stanz want to decide for themselves where the journey goes. Therefore, independence, data sovereignty and active participation are very important to them," Mayor Pichler continues.
But there's more to it than that: "For every kilowatt hour that doesn't find a direct buyer within the community, I could receive a virtual token in the future instead of the feed-in tariffs, which are not very interesting. In turn, I can exchange this token for community energy at another time, for example, if my PV system is not producing electricity at the moment. Or I can buy a case of beer for it in Trixi's village store." summarizes Pichler. "We are happy that we could win the Austrian market leader Riddle&Code to develop this pioneering project. And now that Stanz can take off, we're looking forward to seeing other communities follow the same path."
The technical implementation is based on blockchain technology. "With our product MYPWR, we were able to offer the Stanzertal Energy Community a simple plug and play solution" explains Siefert. "Included in the package are blockchain wallets for smart meters and all end devices. A lot can be saved by aligning production and consumption within the EEG. For example, e-car charging stations, cold storage control for Trixi's village store and much more for households and companies are connected. Everything from a single source."
In fact, energy communities typically all have the same challenges: They don't get enough data, and they get it - "too little, too late." Siefert puts it succinctly: "What do I get out of it when I get the information with my monthly statement that I could have charged my car cheaply and washed my dishwasher cheaply four weeks ago on Tuesday. MYPWR provides this data not only accurately but in real-time. And if you want, it will even automatically turn on your washing machine when it's cheap." And finally: "We are proud that this innovative showcase project has chosen us to develop a system that can now be easily implemented throughout Austria and all over Europe."
Edina Ocsko, Coordinator for the EU Project Smart Rural: "We selected Stanz because it had the most advanced concept and a clear vision of where they want to get with clean energy. And they can serve as an example for other communities. "
The project still leaves much to the imagination: In further steps, energy trading between the participants could be expanded, and other plants with citizen participation could be integrated. We can only hope that this example will set a precedent.
1 First Observatory meeting concerning European Commission with the aim to "prepare Member States and rural communities for the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 as well as other EU policies and initiatives, which could potentially support the emergence of additional Smart Villages across the EU" (www.smartrural21.eu, www.smarturural27.eu)
About Riddle&Code and MYPWR:
Riddle&Code (R&C) was founded in Vienna and is a leading specialist in decentralized hardware and software solutions for developers and enterprises. R&C develops data infrastructure to connect digital and physical worlds with a focus on sustainable, WEB3 focused business models.
The company solves the problem of insufficient access to smart meter data with a Smart meter extension that enables real-time data access. MYPWR's "plug and play" implementation ensures effortless integration, gives end-users control over their data by determining access permissions and usage, and service providers an attractive new marketing interface. In doing so, MPWR lays the foundation for harnessing the value potential of communities and solidifies its position as the undisputed market leader.
About Stanz im Mürztal:
Stanz im Mürztal is a municipality with 1821 inhabitants (as of 1.1.2022) in the Austrian state of Styria (judicial district of Mürzzuschlag and in the political district of Bruck-Mürzzuschlag). The municipality of Stanz counters the locational disadvantage and rural exodus with innovative projects that strengthen the cohesion and quality of life in the region - such as the village store "Trixi", the "Hupfaufbankerl" for carpooling, the project "Stammtisch statt Internet" and the energy community Stanzertal.
About Smart Rural 27:
The 2nd Preparatory Action on Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century (short for Smart Rural 27 Project) was launched by the European Commission in December 2020 with the aim of "preparing Member States and rural communities for the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020, as well as other EU policies and initiatives that could potentially support the emergence of additional smart villages across the European Union."