Around 2012 Lithuania enacted a specific prosumer promotion program that allowed prosumers to store excess energy in the grid and virtually buy it back between April and March each year. The idea was that first the solar PV technology will be mostly popular on the road to zero emissions, but it had unequal production cycle, thus battery storage would be required. Today storage technologies are still too expensive to benefit prosumers economically, while virtual grid-storage does the same job at least twice cheaper. The only regulatory problem with this scheme was that stored energy that was unused, after March was written off to the benefit of a retailer. This has changed after the Green Deal package obliged EU countries to empower energy consumers and provide more freedom with their consumed and produced energy. In 2020, Lithuania enacted a law that obliged retailers to provide compensations to prosumers for the energy that have stored to the grid but did not use between April and March.
This new regulatory framework led to a virtual transformation of energy into currency which can be used to cover future electricity expenses. However, keeping in mind a liberalization process that started this year in Lithuania and a fierce competition for clients, Ignitis Innovation Hub proposed to scale this opportunity and give a possibility to Ignitis energy clients to use this currency for different services that Ignitis is providing. Starting from April 2021, Ignitis clients can share the benefits of access energy produced with their family members if they are Ignitis clients as well. Moreover, prosumers that have EVs can charge their cars at Ignitis ON EV charging network, using the energy they have produced. The provision of more possibilities is crucial for the Lithuanian prosumer segment that has been drastically increasing in recent years.
Yet, this is not where Innovation Hub is planning to stop. We are looking towards more enabled and more customer friendly future of energy sector. Since the value of energy produced is a digital number, it can be used in various ways between energy consumers. Our vision is to increase the possibilities of Lithuanian prosumers and provide them with multiple ways to use the value of their produced energy. Wouldn’t it be great if one could pay for a cup of coffee or support local animal shelter with the value of our own produced energy? How is this possible? The energy network is like a river - if someone pours in the water on one end, it doesn’t matter where it is being consumed on the other end. The most important task is to keep the balance.
Lastly, the side effect of such financial incentives could increase the average power capacity that is being bought in solar parks or constructed as roof top PV currently, without any fear that the value of overproduction will be lost. Hopefully, more residential renewable energy sources will appear in the grid increasing personal, as well as Lithuania’s energy independence.
If you have more ideas on how energy as a currency could be used in Lithuania, feel free to share your them with us for more enabled future.
Ignitis Innovation expert