Blockchain could significantly shape management of renewables, but challenges remain

Published onMay 10, 2018

The evolving outlook for project finance, as well as the gradual maturation of technologies, such as blockchain, present new challenges and opportunities for renewables, EY says in its latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) report. Uncertainty in the sector continues to drive a “relentless focus on cost” to soften the impact of protectionism, subsidy cuts and rising interest rates throughout the world, it adds.

Blockchain technology has the potential to significantly shape how electricity produced by distributed generation sources is managed, says EY. It points to LO3 Energy’s use of blockchain in New York City as one example of how the technology is already shaking up the energy sector. The company is using blockchain to facilitate the operation of a virtual microgrid that connects residential rooftop PV arrays, through which asset owners can affordably sell electricity to other members of the microgrid…the technology could also radically change how renewable and distributed energy is traded, EY says, noting its own project with Gasunie to use blockchain to help authenticate green energy certificates. But EY also acknowledges that consumer trust in blockchain still needs to be built. It also points to the “paradox” of using an energy-intensive technology such as blockchain to drive renewables uptake.