More than $300 mln has been invested in Blockchain-based energy projects since Q3 2017, Bloomberg reports. This amount has been distributed amongst 122 different companies working on disparate projects in the space. Many of the projects involve some form of peer-to-peer energy transfer, which would remove the middleman: utilities. Colleen Metelitsa, a researcher at GTM Research, wrote:
There’s something alluring about blockchain’s ability to disintermediate the utility.
Examples of the types of projects that have been funded include peer-to-peer selling of energy from solar panels, charging of electric vehicles, renewable energy credits or even wholesale energy sales and purchases.
Department of Energy
While the $300 mln figure is impressive, it might be easy to write off these Blockchain projects as startups tilting at windmills. However, the US government seems to agree about the potential of Blockchain in the energy industry. The Department of Energy (DoE) has partnered with Blockcypher to explore the peer-to-peer exchange of renewable energy. Recently, DoE used the Dash Blockchain to demonstrate the first such transaction.
According to Dylan Cutler, a senior engineer at the DoE:
Blockchain technology presents a transformative and highly scalable platform for enabling distributed energy markets, which could enable [distributed energy resources] to interact more effectively with the larger grid. These interactions include more efficient demand response, capacity reserves, power quality support.
Karen Hsu of Blockcypher wrote:
This would be important in a natural disaster or when the grid goes down for extended periods, just like we've seen last year across the U.S.
Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core, pointed out that peer-to-peer energy transfer using the Dash network would improve the effectiveness of smart meters. Taylor said this would make smart meters:
More efficient and stable by enabling the monetization of stored energy and energy production at the endpoints of the grid.