There is a lot of hype and noise around blockchain technology today, writes Robert Schwarz, principal consultant, ÅF Pöyry. Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) have considerable potential and could disrupt and drive efficiency in the utility industry; however it is unclear if any of the ideas have come to fruition in a real-world environment. Despite the large levels of investment, here the question remains: when will we see scalable, commercial blockchain solutions that can drive real value in the utility industry?

In the energy sector we are seeing the development of blockchain picking up pace once again and proof of concepts being deployed successfully in sandboxes around the world. Two years ago, there were only a handful of start-ups in the energy business who were using blockchain for peer-to-peer trading, certificates of origin or other use cases. Today there are more than 100 active companies worldwide. In fact, in the last two years, the DLT industry has mobilised investment capital of more than $1.5 billion with a focus on Europe, Asia, Australia and the US. So far, the scope of activities include energy, mobility and the Internet of Things, and the most promising use cases have proven to be peer-to-peer trading between customers of electricity suppliers, certificates of origin, green mining and renewable project financing. Unfortunately, the success of these use cases has meant that limited investments have been made in smart homes, energy efficiency and wholesale trading.


Whilst we are seeing promising advances in blockchain usage, there is still a disconnect between funding and levels of commercial maturity. Most use cases are struggling to advance from the proof of concept stage […]