Blockchain to drive global microgrid boom

Blockchain will play a pivotal role in helping the value of the global microgrid market hit $30bn by 2022, according to a power analyst.

“As the global microgrid market liberalises and renewable energy grows, blockchain offers an effective way to handle the increasingly complex and decentralised transactions between users, large and small-scale producers, retailers, traders and utilities, said Amit Sharma of research firm GlobalData.

He said that there are “more than 150 companies reportedly developing blockchain energy tools and most participants in the nascent market are developing tools for peer-to-peer energy transactions”.

“Other types of transactions for blockchain may include trading renewable energy credits or wholesale energy. There are now over 100 demonstration projects deployed or planned around the world in the electricity industry alone.”

And Sharma highlights that energy-focused blockchain startups raised over $300m between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. “Industry experts expect that blockchain investment in the energy sector will reach more than $5.8bn by 2025,” he added.

He highlights some of the key players in the sector today: “LO3 Energy, based in New York, along with Siemens Digital Grid and Siemens’ startup financier, next47, is working on the Brooklyn Microgrid project.

“Another firm, Electron, is leveraging blockchain technology to help enable partnerships on the grid in collaboration with French energy giant, EDF.

“Blockchain plays a key role when companies have shared infrastructure. Power Ledger, an Australian startup which raised A$34m ($26m) in an ICO, is building platforms to enable commercial operation of microgrids in Thailand and India and two commercial buildings in West Australia.”

“Energi Mine, a UK-based startup, has created a blockchain-based platform to reward energy-saving users with tokens they can use to pay their energy bills or charge their electric vehicles. A Singapore company, Electrify, has been running a price comparison marketplace as the country liberalises its electricity market. Grid+, a US startup, will launch its first retail device next year in Texas, using the Ethereum blockchain to allow users, whether they are traditional consumers or owners of solar panels and batteries, to buy and sell electricity at wholesale prices.”

Blockchain and its role in the energy sector will be a hot topic at Asian Utility Week and European Utility Week.


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