There has been a never-ending pursuit for blockchain use cases since 2017 when it gained notoriety among the masses. The energy sector is at the forefront of blockchain technology experimentation and, more specifically, energy sharing with blockchain is as interesting as it is a viable idea. Sustainable and renewable energy sources continue to be a priority for many countries and blockchain can help the world to reduce their dependency on fossil fuel sources.
What is energy sharing?
The concept was already mentioned in a previous article about African electrification challenges, but it is important to broaden our view and analyze other continents as well. First, it is important to understand that the principle behind is to be able to buy electricity from households or buildings with installed solar panels that produce more than they use, which can create a peer-to-peer grid allowing consumers to bypass government-owned energy providers. The blockchain is particularly relevant to store consumption and price data which can fluctuate on an hourly base.
Having said that, people should be aware that the near future will not be completely decentralized from such sources and there should be a way to integrate these “private” grids with the public one.
This is the biggest challenge in developed countries where the vast majority of people use energy from state-owned companies or private companies enjoying monopolies.
What is being developed?
Power Ledger is one of the names you should remember in this specific area. The Aussie company, which has successfully completed projects in the US and Australia, has recently released a new roadmap where the expansion to other countries is already in place.
The latest pilot will take place in Japan this year and the company will partner up with Sharing Energy Co. Ltd., a provider of solar installation and provision services in Japan. As a first stage, Power Ledger will allow Sharing Energy to track, in real-time, the power consumption of 100 selected households. On a second phase, the Japanese energy provider will use Power Ledger blockchain platform and data to enable energy trading between buyers and sellers in the network. Power Ledger expects that up to 55,000 Japanese homes will participate in this blockchain trial by the end of the year.
The importance of the integration with big energy “players” is also part of Power Ledger’s strategy and their partnership with the biggest Japanese electricity retailer, Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), is a good example of this. Together, they are developing a Virtual Power Plant to measure and redirect excess electrical power. A similar blockchain energy initiative is in the works in the South Korean city of Busan.
Beyond Power Ledger
The example of Power Ledger is one among a series of companies that are leveraging blockchain in the energy industry and adapting the technology to the current society problems. LO3 and GridSingularity are two other examples of first-movers that already have projects in place to revolutionize the energy sector. In the case of LO3, the blockchain start-up even partnered with the German industrial group Siemens, which not only gives credibility to the project but also allows them to develop it faster and with higher levels of success.
In the near future, we might have our electric bills coming from different sources, but above all, at a cheaper and fairer price.
Remember, blockchain has the potential to help the world become a better place by reducing inequities of underserved populations, it is not just about crypto currencies.