The blockchain technology allows for secure data storage without the need for a third party or central authority. This means that all blockchain-based transactions are stored in distributed computers instead of a single, central database. Blockchain projects operate on a distributed ledger technology (DLT). With DLT, the system records and adds each new transaction to the previous one, which results in a growing chain of information.
Since the blockchain technology has penetrated the financial sector, energy producers and the utility sector can also embrace the same concept. Blockchain projects utilize safe and secure data storage, which can also be applicable in the energy sector. With a decentralized network, the projects require no intermediaries, as payments will take place in cryptocurrencies. Utilizing smart contracts, the projects are able to process transactions faster, as no letter of credit is necessary.
Blockchain Projects and the Energy Sector
The demand for energy increases each year, as aging power systems struggle to meet the growing demand. In many parts of the world, power outages and shortages are the order of the day, and this situation might get worse before it improves. Fortunately, blockchain technology could offer the required solution.
With decentralized, independent, and efficient systems, blockchain projects could lighten some of the problems emanating from today’s power grid. Blockchain-based projects are cost-effective, secure, and work faster. Currently, several blockchain projects are out to explore the technology to confront the world’s energy problems. This article exposes 4 such projects that look quite promising.
Grid+ seeks to transform the world of energy through “smart energy agent” powered by the network’s artificial intelligence hardware. Users can place the hardware in their homes to anticipate their energy usage demand. They can also use it to buy power automatically when it is cheapest.
With the ‘smart energy agent’, users will have access to different energy markets and will enable them to make timely purchasing decisions after every fifteen minutes. Interestingly, all this happens in the background automatically—so you don’t even have to think about it.
Users with solar panels in their homes will have the opportunity to sell excess energy that they generate from their homes solar power systems. Besides, Grid+ will make it possible store energy safely after harvesting and then sell it when the price hikes. This will enable the owners to make more money.
Importantly, the project will utilize a native token, BOLT, to complete all transactions. If you are a homeowner and you purchase energy using the ‘smart energy agent’, you will pay using BOLT tokens. Similarly, if you sell energy, you will receive payment in BOLT tokens.
Power Ledger is the world’s first blockchain-based platform that enables participants to trade energy. Operating on a distributed P2P blockchain network, Power Ledger is one of the blockchain projects that seek to revolutionize the energy sector. It will enable users to automatically buy or sell electricity harvested from solar panels. Functioning independently on the blockchain, this project will help curb some of the inefficiencies currently witnessed in the power grids.
How it works
If your house has extra power captured by the solar power during the day and stored on the battery, the system could automatically sell a particular predetermined portion to another house within the Power Ledger network. For example, if the predetermined price for a one-kilowatt hour on PL’s network were $0.2, the house supplying the power would get a bigger percentage of this fee, say, for instance, $0.15. On the other hand, the utility company would get a smaller fee, for using its electrical grid. At the same time, an even smaller fee would go to Power Ledger for using its network.
All transactions on the PL network will be in the network’s native token, POWR. Power Ledger featured at the 2017 Blockchain Summit, where they drew the attention of several investors. In 2018, the project looks forward to initiating more strategic partnerships.
Based in the UK, Electron seeks to implement a decentralized platform for natural gas and electricity metering. Once implemented, the platform will enable users to switch between the two sources of energy efficiently.
By registering energy meters on the blockchain, utility companies will be able to comply with future regulations that will require upgrades to the existing metering systems. This will make the existing systems more efficient.
Currently, the entire UK has no centralized registry for all the electricity and gas meters. This brings its share of challenges in the energy sector. For instance, it takes between two and three weeks for users to switch their utility services from one source to another. Once implemented, Electron network seeks to reduce this downtime from several days to just minutes. Electron aims to offer meter registration on the blockchain at no cost to utility companies and then provide them with value-added services such as decentralized peer-to-peer energy trading.
According to Electron’s Chief Operating Officer, Joanna Hubbard, the network is not focused on overly commercializing their product, but instead, they seek to deliver it to the industry and then improve it in the future. Electron has won two Innovate UK grants in addition to more than 500,000 sterling pounds in venture capital funding. The most recent award was in September 2017 from the UK Energy Entrepreneur Fund, which they described as “substantial funding.” The company now aims to scale up their activities in 2018.
You can learn more about the operations of Electron from their website.
eCharge is committed to implementing a decentralized network of electric vehicle charging stations in Europe and the Middle East. By utilizing the eCharge app, users will be able to search and identify hotels with charging stations. They will then be able to book and pay for the facility using eCharge’s original token, ECH. The network targets Germany and Australian markets.
Currently, only about three hundred hotels in the target markets offer electric vehicle charging services. eCharge seeks to speed up the installation of the EV charging stations by volunteering to pay the full cost of the installation in exchange for usage privileges that only eCharge customers will enjoy.
The project will enable listed hotels to offer valuable service to their guests without the need to bear the upfront investment costs. With more people leaning towards e-vehicles, eCharge anticipates a situation where charging stations become a necessity for hotels, just like Wi-Fi today.
Big players in the energy sector such as the International Energy Agency believe that many more people will adopt electric cars in the next decade or so. According to their prediction, between nine and twenty million electric vehicles will be operational by the year 2020. The number is expected to rise to between forty and seventy million by the year 2025.
According to a study released by Bloomberg, there is an exponential growth of the EV market, with sales outpacing that of gas cars in 2038. With some countries such as India, Japan, and France planning to phase out gasoline cars by 2040, the eCharge project comes in the nick of time to capitalize on the growing EV market.
The eCharge token presale is currently ongoing, with a 30% bonus for early buyers. The project will announce its crowdsale date soon. If you would love to participate in the presale, you can visit http://echarge.io/. For detailed information about the project, you can read their whitepaper. You can also join the conversation on Telegram.
The use of blockchain technology in the energy sector is a concept many players are embracing. For instance, large energy firms such as the British Petroleum are getting in on the action. Other major players in the sector include Wien Energy from Austria, which was among the firms that participated in an energy-trading exhibition at the beginning of this year.
Overall, the inclusion of blockchain projects in the energy sector will lead to the development of digital currencies for monetary transactions. To that end, a good number of utilities are already in the pilot phase with crypto transactions. For instance, Marubeni Corporation in Japan currently accepts digital currency payments in some parts of Japan. Similarly, Bankymoon, a blockchain-based startup in South Africa is collaborating with Usizo to implement digital currency monetary transactions for bitcoin-friendly smart meters in remote locations.
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Tony is a writer for the crypto space. He presents cryptocurrency and blockchain topics to the public in a way that he only can. While carefully researched, this article should not be taken as an express investment guide. Do your own research and consult a financial advisor before you invest in cryptocurrency.
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