The new buzzword of the energy sector? Blockchain

Blockchain is the new buzzword in tech world. Over the past three years, more than 2,500 patents have been filed and US$ 1.4 billion in venture capital investments have been made in this technology, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum. The impacts, they anticipate, will be felt in a number of sectors, including finance, trade, healthcare and energy.

Conceived for the use of the bitcoin, the blockchain is a list of transactions stored on the computer of all the parties involved. Secured by cryptography, data is recorded in real­time and cannot be altered. Everyone can make and read the exchanges at any time, so the system is completely transparent. These features make the blockchain an appealing new way of storing and transferring data, which does not depend on a central authority or storage location, but enables all nodes of the network to work simultaneously and keep everything on record. How does it relate to energy?

The use of the blockchain in a solar microgrid is currently being tested in New York. It is a test of how the energy market could be run directly by consumers. […] Not everyone, however, believes that the blockchain revolution will come from the retail market. According to Michael Merz, Managing Director of Ponton, a software company in Hamburg, the technology is especially useful where a variety of exchanges require standardization, so in the energy sector it is more effective in wholesale trading…

The full article was published on Sun & Wind Energy, 5/2016, September 2016. The publication is available to subscribers or can be purchased online

Photo courtesy LO3 Energy. Rooftop PV system part of the Brooklyn microgrid developed by LO3, New York. Photo by Sasha Santiago.