Other than power trading, there are three major use cases for blockchain to impact the grid — grid security and generation balancing, infrastructure and microgrid financing, and a new REC. The following is a viewpoint by Kevin Stevens, partner at Intelis Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in the digitization of analog industries.
Until recently, access to data on blockchain experiments in the energy sector has been fairly limited. However, things are starting to change. Last year, startups raised $300 million through both traditional venture capital and initial coin offerings (ICOs). Two of the most heralded fundings came from Drift (consumer-to-generation) and LO3 Energy (peer-to-peer), both of whom are looking to connect consumers to the energy provider of their choice with distributed ledgers. As I explained in a post earlier this year, electricity trading transactions are still tracked in Excel or databases that rarely are connected but owned by large corporations. This system adds millions in additional transaction costs and makes full transparency between market actors almost impossible. A de-centralized ledger solves almost all of these errors and would empower new entrants (i.e., consumers with excess power capacity due to solar panels) to enter the market. Other than the power trading market, we see three major use cases for blockchain technology to impact the grid.