Bitcoin reached new highs at the end of November 2020, and with many analysts expecting the price to continue soaring, digital currency and blockchain are back in the news. Blockchain technology still finds itself is a situation of unclear utility—similar to the internet when it was relatively new. As a cryptographic, peer-to-peer ledger system for the reliable recording of information without centralized authority, blockchain holds promise for sectors like energy that are trending toward decentralization. Guidehouse Insights examines how industry players across energy and technology spaces use the technology in its report, Energy Blockchain Vendor and Deployment Tracker 3Q20 . Smart energy communities have experimentally used blockchain as way of facilitating and recording energy transactions with mixed results . While the technology holds promise for energy consumers, many startups attempting to develop blockchain products based on the technology have struggled to make headway in existing regulatory environments. Still, the ability of a blockchain record-keeping system has value in a smart energy future. It could reduce transaction costs, potentially aid in automation, and create new revenue streams for owners of distributed energy technologies.

Distributed Energy and Distributed Ledgers Make Quite the Pair

One of the key theoretical features of smart energy communities that appeals to consumers is the ability to generate, store, and use energy locally. With distributed energy generation, battery storage, and smart meters situated within a microgrid, it’s technically possible for neighbors to trade electrons back and forth within their own miniature marketplace. While such a relationship is difficult to achieve for regulatory and market reasons, blockchain would prove a particularly useful application for tracking the flow of energy between neighbors. A solar energy trading project in Brooklyn, New York, attempted this sort of system using blockchain, although the end product ultimately had to scale back its local […]