Blockchain is the technology with the most potential to transform the energy sector. The energy industry has been consistently upgraded with innovations such as rooftop solar, smart metering, and electric vehicles. Enterprise blockchain solutions and the usage of smart contracts and systems interoperability could be the next big thing in the sector.
Of the many use cases for blockchain technology, energy and sustainability are often less acknowledged. However, the World Economic Forum, PwC, and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment released a joint report that identifies more than 65 existing and emerging blockchain use cases in the renewable sector. Some of the use cases include:
- Business models for energy markets,
- Real-time data management
- Moving carbon credits and renewable energy certificates onto the blockchain.
*Blockchain technology in the energy sector is predicted to hike from $200 million in 2018 to around $18 billion by 2025.*– Global Market Insights Inc
Potential for change
Distributed ledger technology has an incredible potential to improve efficiencies for utility providers by using smart contracts to track the chain of custody for grid materials. Blockchain also offers unique solutions for renewable energy distribution. Non-renewable energy sectors, such as oil and gas companies, also stand to benefit from the implementation of this technology.
Complex systems with multiple actors now have the opportunity to benefit greatly from blockchain technology. As an example, petroleum trading requires a network of refiners, tankers, jobbers, governments, as well as regulatory bodies. Such a complex network of participants is destined to suffer from numerous process inefficiencies. Large scale oil and gas companies are seeking to invest in and implement blockchain technology due to its ability to lower costs as well as reduce harmful environmental impacts.
Such companies are particularly concerned about maintaining their privacy and trade secrets. The main three benefits of blockchain in the energy sector are:
- Reduced costs,
- Environmental sustainability,
- Increased transparency for stakeholders while maintaining companies' privacy.
Real-world use cases of blockchain technology in the energy sector
We are seeing more and more industry players stepping into the blockchain technology field to improve their business models. Different companies implemented blockchain in different spheres of their business, each bringing a new perspective. Some of the categories that currently utilize blockchain technology are:
Companies such as ekWateur, Solarcoin, bankymoon, and theSunExchange all try to develop or implement payment systems for the electricity supply.
RWE and Fortum are corporations that implemented blockchain into their EV charging management systems.
NRG Energy and Siemens are conglomerates that utilize blockchain in the renewable certificates management sphere.
Magnates such as Microsoft, Nasdaq, and Flament use blockchain technology in their prosumers peer-to-peer trading platforms.