Renewable Energy Industry, ICO, and Regulation – Catching up with WPO
A lot has happened since our last interview. WPO keeps innovating and pushing the boundaries of renewable energy and technology. We are very happy to share this update about how things are progressing and we are looking forward to following up once more as WPO inches closer to their AMF approved GreenToken ICO!
Could you give us a brief update on what has happened since our last interview? Has the WPO infrastructure been growing according to plan?
Since we spoke in July 2019, our company’s portfolio has grown to 5.3 GW, spanning 12 European countries. Our Data Lake has increased significantly with energy data now reaching 850 GB, and we have access to ca. 10 TWh per year of production data.
You recently ran a crowdfunding project through Lendosphere. How did it go and what is the current status?
The crowdfunding campaign on Lendosphere was a record-breaking success. WPO’s bond issue campaign was met with unmatched enthusiasm on the crowdlending platform as we managed to raise 600,000 EUR in less than 24 hours. This was not a given as WPO’s business model is different from the other projects on Lendosphere. But the ambition of our project appealed to the investors in an unprecedented way.
This accomplishment underlines the relevance of our actions and the growing interest of the citizens to participate in the energy transition.
Has there been any progress on France’s regulatory framework? What are the current challenges?
France’s legal framework passed in 2017 and crystallized in the PACTE law in 2019 is one of the most comprehensive in the world for cryptocurrencies and public offering (ICOs) in particular. The rules and expectations from the French Financial Markets Authority and the French authorities with whom we work closely (Agencies, Ministries, etc.) are clearly set out. The gathering and coordinating of specific and multidisciplinary skills (such as crypto and energy, legal, accounting, tax, marketing, tokenomics, and modeling) to build our application in order to get the green light from France’s financial watchdog has been a most interesting challenge. Luckily enough, the Authority’s various departments involved in our application process have always been very professional and keen to help. They genuinely have acted as our thorough “beta readers.” Nothing is left to chance!
To win the AMF’s approval was a testimony of how hard we have worked to provide clear, transparent, and complete information to future investors. This approval from the AMF is a key milestone to bring clarity and trust for investors. We are very proud to receive this approval and publicly offer this incredibly innovative tool, the GreenToken, to invigorate and optimize the production of renewable energy immediately.
We discussed the emergence of renewables last time. How do you see the Covid-19 pandemic impacting all this?
For WPO, this is an opportunity to remind us that the solution for the crisis is to move into “positive sobriety.” Let’s do with what we have, realistically and economically, to achieve tomorrow with a smile. Make the most of existing production plants and optimize them, here and now, to produce clean and sustainable energy, without depleting our resources or polluting. If renewables have reached peaks in recent months – sometimes representing more than 50% of electricity consumption in Denmark, the United Kingdom or Germany – it is because we as an industry have all fulfilled our mission whatever the conditions are.
This crisis has also revealed the remarkable resilience of digital assets (or cryptocurrencies): the price of Bitcoin has already returned to its pre-crisis level while traditional stock markets are struggling to recover despite exceptional support from central banks. The green energy sector can leverage on this stability to finance its development. That’s why we believe so much in our GreenToken’s future, of which only 15 million tokens will be issued. Token public offerings are the means to make digital assets accessible to as many people as possible.
In the post-COVID world, the issuance of the AMF visa is crucial to bringing clarity and confidence to investors. It is also a strong signal to the world that new solutions are now made available for a better, changing world.
How is WPO preparing for the coming GreenToken ICO?
The resounding success of our bond issue-campaign last January is a testimony that there is a demand from the investors to participate in the energy transition. The ambition of our project is to provide the general public with actual participation in the digital energy transition. This is why the GreenToken Public offering is opened to the individual investors and that the minimum purchase amount has been lowered to 100 EUR.
To further the GreenToken project’s reach, we have partnered with a French exchange platform called Savitar, as the first exchange to list the GTK. Savitar is a user-friendly exchange that is only listing a carefully selected number of crypto assets. We are very proud that the GTK will be listed there, starting December 1st.
Could you explain the GreenToken Project and the application of GreenTokens?
Our GreenToken Network aims at creating the conditions for trust required to optimize the Energy Sector thanks to Distributed Ledger Technologies. The GreenToken Network is already composed of renowned professionals in the energy sector, such as AREAM, BCS ASSURANCES, DREHPUNKT, ENDIPREV, ENRSUR, GOODYIELDS CAPITAL, SYNERIA, TALVEG WIND, and WIND CLUSTER and it is expanding fast. These members are accepting the GreenToken as a means of payment for their goods and services in favor of the Energy Transition.
GreenTokens are used to stimulate and optimize renewable energy production. They give access to certified goods or services, which contribute to a more efficient production of renewable energy. And they are the tool to acquire proof of work made by the GreenToken Network in favor of energy production from renewable sources and to take advantage of it.
What is the role of your GreenToken?
GreenTokens are digital assets, qualified as utility tokens. WPO’s heart beats for, and our core competencies are custody & servicing Renewables. Blockchain is “just” a tool for us. We have chosen blockchain specialists as our partners to build on the best systems for our use cases, which underpin our GreenToken Public Offering. You will find a rather comprehensive description of our use cases in the information document approved by the AMF, the French Financial Markets Authority. We will be able to disclose our detailed use cases in September, just before the ICO starts. We would then be delighted to come back to the Energy Bit and share them with you!
The AMF approval was quite significant. What difficulties did you encounter, what does it really mean, and what does it say to the rest of the industry?
The DNA of WPO, as well as myself, is to be a pioneer. As such, it was fundamental for our operation to get the label from the AMF even though this meant to open new doors (regulatory, legal, technical, etc.). The AMF approval was very significant, as the AMF has very high standards for granting their approval in general and to a Public Token Offering in particular. The approval for the GreenToken public offering is only the second approval ever issued by the AMF, and the first one in 2020. The AMF whitelist is still a very exclusive club!
Looking beyond the French ecosystem, the GreenToken Public offering is the first ICO of the energy sector ever to be approved by an independent financial authority. This is unprecedented. It means that the renewable energy industry is ready to take a technological step forward with the blockchain. We are proud to wear the colors of France & Europe, and we believe that this is also one of the elements bringing trust to the investors.
How is your overall portfolio looking these days? What changes have happened over the years and what are the current trends regarding the market and technology?
WPO’s serviced portfolio encompasses 5 GW as of today and consists of 75% wind & 25 % solar. That represents the production of 10 TWh of electricity per year from renewable sources. WPO is active in over 600 wind and solar energy sites located in 12 European countries and overseas territories (the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean). The value of the renewable assets under mandate is nearly 7 billion euros and, each year, the sale of electricity produced from these renewable energy sources is more than 900 million euros.
The industry is still growing fast worldwide. In Europe, the subsidy-based model is shifting to a new auction/market-driven paradigm, and producers are gearing up to reduce costs to optimize their electricity selling price. In this new economy, WPO’s GreenToken model is the answer as it optimizes both production and opex.
The GreenToken is the one tool the Green Energy Ecosystem needs to access a full new range of goods and services offered by the GreenToken Network for optimizing their customs and, ultimately, the green energy production!