Can Blockchain Revolutionise Markets for Energy and Power?

Blockchain is no longer an obscure technology linked to bitcoin but, as we’ve posted on extensively (see our other posts: #blockchain), it is now being taken seriously by important stakeholders across many industries and sectors of the economy.

While this widely hyped disruptive technology remains obscure, and companies and start-ups have waxed and waned in their commitment to investing in the technology, it must be said that interest and activity has remained high, and more importantly, by stakeholders who have the potential to influence the wider impact of the blockchain.

For example, the blockchain is being taken very serious in the banking and financial services sector. The Bundesbank (The German Central Bank) and Deutsche Börse (The German Stock Exchange) have been developing and testing a Blockchain platform for securities trading settlement, clearance and administration. (See: German Central Bank has Developed a Blockchain Based Prototype Securities Trading System)

Blockchain applications are not only applicable to the finance sector, but has potentially disruptive implications for all industries with complex trading, agreement and settlement at the core. The power and energy sector are another industry where the blockchain could change the entire landscape, particularly as these markets move towards more widespread trading of excess capacity and balancing supply and demand.

Indeed, there is evidence of a commerical blockchain ecosystem emerging as developers and companies begin to understand the synergies available across sectors such as finance, energy, supply chain, internet-of-things, and media, along with platforms such as bitcoin and the host of other contributors currently working with the technology (such as SAP, IBM and many others).

In the US, the New York-based company LO3 Energy is pushing its Ethereum Blockchain-based Transactive Grid platform forward in the and power and energy markets overseas. Marking an energy industry first, LO3 recently announced a global microgrid platform development partnership with Siemens (see the press release) and won two energy industry innovation prizes in Europe.

Power Ledger in Australia is another company offering blockchain-based p2p trading (), and Powerpeers is doing something similar in the Netherlands. Further developments have been taking place in logging and transacting renewable energy credits (RECs) or tokens similar to RECs.

While the technology is still not widely understood, and the power markets remain complex and dispersed it is clear that the blockchain is being taken seriously as for distributed energy trading and resource management. Already, the question of regulation is an issue, but countries such as Germany are already beginning to address this question.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from www.microgridmedia.com.

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