INTERVIEW – Romania's Restart Energy plans new acquisitions to back blockchain-fuelled platform

Restart Energy CEO Armand Doru Domuta

BUCHAREST (Romania), June 4 (SeeNews) – Romanian energy provider and franchisor Restart Energy plans to boost its renewable energy production capacity with new acquisitions in the country to support the expansion of its blockchain-fuelled, peer-to-peer, fully decentralized energy transfer platform, which it intends to launch by the end of 2018.

"While we have already substantially increased our renewable energy power production capabilities, as per our whitepaper, we aim to further improve this to 10 MW, in the not too distant future," Armand Domuta, CEO of Restart Energy, told SeeNews in a recent e-mailed interview.

"This will be made, of course, to strategically ensure the safety of our ecosystem and the smart use of the funds raised as we’re planning on entering over 40 countries in the next five years, including the United States, China, Canada or Australia," the CEO added.

In February, the company raised $30 million (25.6 million euro) in a Token Generation Event (TGE), which it is using to finance its blockchain-powered platform Restart Energy Democracy (RED).

The two year-old company made its first steps towards raising its renewable production capacity by signing preliminary agreements to buy six solar and two hydropower plants in Romania.

By the end of the year, it plans to sign deals for the purchase of three more hydro-power plants and to develop a 5 MW geothermal turbine, a project 75% financed with the proceeds from a EU grant.

"All production assets that Restart Energy acquires will be fully geared towards our RED Platform," said Domuta, who has been developing renewable energy projects for nearly a decade.

Domuta also said that after creating Restart Energy in 2015 and making it the fastest growing private energy supply company in the EU, he felt that there is unexplored potential in blockchain funding.

In just two years after its launch, the company has reached 37,000 clients in  Romania, growing at a rate of 2,500 clients per month in the first quarter of 2018. Also, it has 300 franchisees in Romania and this year it opened its first branch outside Romania - in Serbia, and has registered in Singapore and the UK.

Domuta said that Restart Energy will bring in $100 million in revenue in 2018 - a five-fold increase over last year, according to a forecast based on market trends, economic climate and previous history. The company's revenue rose to $20 million in 2017, from $5.45 in the prior year.

"Our use of blockchain technology will provide multiple benefits to our users. It will ensure a safe and transparent marketplace for consumers, producers and prosumers [a person who consumes and produces a product]. It also eliminates a multitude of administrative costs," the CEO said.

Also, he added, the blockchain technology enables the company to issue green certificates to end-users rather than to producers, making green energy more attractive to everyone and thus accelerating worldwide adoption of renewable energy.

Once it goes online country-wide in August, the RED platform will use peer-to-peer technology enabling producers to sell their energy at a price 30% higher than the wholesale price, while at the same time retail customers will pay 30% less, said Domuta, who is also president of the Romanian Blockchain Association since February.

"The idea for the RED platform was born from my dream of creating a transparent energy ecosystem that allows and encourages free and direct energy transfers between people, who have the possibility of choosing renewable energy without limitations, from sources they can trust," he added.

The RED platform is designed to allow producers to sell and consumers to buy energy anywhere in the world and all this is made possible through the process of energy tokenization.

"Each time a free marketplace is created, it unleashes stored potential. In ten years, I truly believe that we can become one of the most sought after franchises in the world, growing at an even faster rate than today, giving people the freedom of choosing their energy sources," Domuta said.

Restart Energy is part of Timisoara-based Armand Group, controlled by Domuta.

In March, Restart Energy signed off on the pre-agreement to start the acquisition of six solar parks located in Izvorul (Dambovița county), Prundeni (Valcea county), Brosteni (Dambovita county) and Tureni (Cluj county). The two hydroelectric power-plants will be purchased from hydro power producer Hidroprod after due diligence procedures are completed.

In April, the company signed a power purchase contract with Romania’s biggest electricity producer Hidroelectrica.

($=0.8612 euro)

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