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What Are The Benefits Of Blockchain In The Energy Industry? 9 Experts Share Their Insights

  • 24 May 2019
  • Sam Mire

What if you could solve age-old problems with new technology? What if the powers that be didn’t want you to?

We have yet to witness the energy industry use the blockchain in daily operations, but experts agree it has vast potential for the sector. The blockchain can unify information channels across the industry, bring greater transparency and corporate accountability to emissions and consumption data.

It will also save time and money for consumers and utility companies alike. New concepts like peer-to-peer energy trading will maximize the value of prepaid energy. Users won’t have to sit on power they’ve paid for but didn’t use. P2P trading lets them sell their excess wattage to someone in need while cutting out third parties.

Some also see the blockchain as a way to tie information gateways to physical energy hubs, providing real-time consumption data to inform peer-to-peer energy trades. These possibilities aren’t science fiction. They’re completely realistic possibilities that startup in the energy space are actively developing.

And here are the experts:

1. François Le Scornet, President of Carbonexit Consulting

François Le Scornet“Disintermediation can be a real benefit. Many use cases are based on the fact that you save time, money and that you gain some degrees of liberty by getting rid of Trusted Third Parties (TTP). This is true for P2P electricity trading, for direct access to the the wholesale market by some utilities (shortcutting brokers) but also for some other use cases related to certificates of origin and similar currently centrally-managed databases.”

2. Amanda Hagen, Head of Marketing of FutureFuel Technology

Amanda Hagen“If we look at what blockchain is bringing to the energy sector right now – it's investment. Bitcoin mining has inadvertently increased the use of renewable energy as well as created greater transparency and security for blockchain technology through the proof-of-work consensus mechanism. So we can say that blockchain and the energy sector are mutually benefiting from each other.”

3Dr. Mervyn Maistry, CEO and Founder of Konfidio

Mervyn G. Maistry“Blockchain gives the power to prosumers by enabling microtransactions and P2P trading. The decentralization of the grid infrastructure is already in progress thanks to microgrids and distributed energy production. As the energy industry relies on both energy and information flows, information exchange architecture needs to be coherent with the physical infrastructure to enable changes toward increased clean energy use and a reduction of emissions. Information has to be accessible at multiple points in the grid in order to be used to improve different energy-related operations. Blockchain allows for decentralization and the possible integration of AI-based autonomous software into the grid.”

4. Vincent Manier, CFO of ENGIE Insight

Vincent Manier“While once left at the discretion of individual companies, blockchain provides a level of transparency when measuring carbon emissions and credits that will help hold businesses accountable for hitting emission targets and encourage renewable energy adoption. Renewable Energy Certificates are a key tool to upholding this visibility. They provide standard details about each megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation, including how power is generated, where it’s generated, when it’s generated, and where it originated. The ‘green attributes’ for each MWh can then be transferred, bought, sold, or retired.”

5. Le-el D. Sinai, Associate, Reed Smith

Le-el Sinai“Without blockchain, information in the energy industry is for the most part disjointed, disparate, and widespread. This leads to inefficiencies in pricing and delivery. Blockchain technology provides the energy sector with the ability to drastically improve upon recordkeeping, storage, and data management, along with all the opportunities that arise therefrom.”

6. Buck B. Endemann, Partner, K&L Gates

Buck B. Endemann“The potential to have faster and more secure access to data and settlement among distributed energy market participants and energy consumers. Blockchain is particularly well suited to an evolving energy and environmental compliance market where consumers are increasingly incentivized to operate their own generation and storage technologies and exert greater control over their energy choices. Currently, settlement and compliance functions are performed through a system of redundancies and third-party verification bodies. Blockchain has the potential to reduce the costs, time, and friction of these externalities. Similarly, as demonstrated abroad, blockchain may be well-suited to address cyber-security concerns as we transition into an increasingly digitized society.”

7. Assaf Ben-Or, CEO and Founder of Greeneum

Assaf Ben Or“The electricity distribution network has more and more endpoints interacting with each other such as microgrids, solar and wind farms, smart appliances, sensors and energy management software. It will be important to create a secure system that can verify instantaneous, autonomous transactions across these nodes as market conditions change.

Therefore, the number one benefit it's the capability of exchange of values in the energy sector in a simple P2P manner without intermediates, increase the trust between the different actors, reducing costs of transactions and incentivising the adoption of clean energy. This way, the technology permits that the ecological behaviours and clean production are incentivised and rewarded in a direct, transparent and cheaper way.”

8. Josef Kulovany, CEO and Founder of WECHARG

 Josef Kulovany“Energy has historically been a centralized commodity.  Oligarchies and entire countries have big stakes in hoarding the profits garnished from dirty fossil fuels.  A clean energy backbone of crowdsourced freelance participants in energy will mean that sunlight, wind, and other renewables can finally assume their rightful place as humanity's primary energy source.  Every participant can share in the infinite wealth of solar energy.”

9. Dr. Michael Yuan, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of The CyberMiles Foundation

Michael Yuan“The key benefit of this system is to achieve supply and demand balance within — and across — communities, reducing the need for very expensive peak generation power and the power transmission fees that plague the network today.”

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About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.