Blockchain’s potential for managing the impact of renewables on the grid and peer to peer sales

Published onMay 2, 2018

Blockchain: From disruption to new business models? Blockchain has the potential to change the business world as we know it today. Entire value chains can be shortened by it – including in the energy industry. In the field of renewables this shift can lead to new business models from peer to peer trading to flexibility schemes or investment incentives, just to name a few.

Start-ups and even classical utilities are increasing their efforts in developing blockchain-based applications and processes, nevertheless the number of scalable case studies is marginal right now and developers have difficulties realising their promising ideas. With this in mind we want to explore the potential for blockchain in the energy industry and get to the bottom of the following question: How does the blockchain vision translate into the world of energy, utilities and renewables?

…blockchain technology gained relevance for the energy sector at the beginning of 2016 with an experiment in Brooklyn, New York (Brooklyn Microgrid, BMG), when owners of PV systems sold their power in the neighbourhood using the Ethereum blockchain without a utility. Barely six months later, Siemens announced its collaboration with the local start-up responsible for the project, LO3 Energy, to research blockchain microgrids. A recent survey (greentechmedia) indicates that today, around two years after the launch of LO3’s pilot, there are 122 organizations involved in blockchain technology and 40 deployed projects. Between Q2 2017 and Q1 2018, over $300 million was invested in the blockchain in the energy industry. While it is still much too soon to speak of a triumph as blockchains must continue to evolve, the technology has the potential to radically change the energy industry.