Blockchain and Energy

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According to European Union guidelines, which our country follows with different strategies and directives, the energy transition must be ecological and digital. At first sight, it might appear that these two things have nothing to do with each other. However, the truth is that, together, the technological disruption, developments in renewable energies, and sustainable development can make climate neutrality possible by the year 2050 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 7 on universal access to energy.

There is constant talk of how the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and advanced analytics can help companies, help to manage wind and solar farms and electrical networks, and help self-producers to exchange energy. In all likelihood, Blockchain may be the basic foundation upon which this transactional infrastructure will be built. The energy sector needs this infrastructure to move forward.

According to the report “Blockchain: A true disruptor for the energy industry” (Deloitte, 2018) applying this technology to energy could “improve visibility and operating efficiency and streamline regulatory reporting,” for example, to guarantee energy from renewable energy sources.

But its applications to this field go even farther. In essence, this is a huge database with blocks of data and transactions that interact together, allowing all its participants access to the same information in real time. As such, this is a solution of tomorrow for purchasing and selling energy in a secure way, with no middlemen. A new energy model, where transparency and competitiveness will be real. A steadfast digital validation, as well.

One success story in this regard is the initiative “Certificación de datos con Blockchain para Energía (Data Certification with Blockchain for Energy)” by the National Energy Commission of Chile, which “raises the degree of transparency and citizen trust in data from the energy sector,” as acknowledged by the institution itself (CNE de Chile, 2020).

Another innovative initiative that uses this technology, in this case in Spain, is the “Greenchain” project, which several countries around the world are already using. It seeks to guarantee customers traceability of the renewable source of electricity produced by energy companies for their customers (I’mnovation Hub, 2020).

In the same fashion, designing Blockchain-based protocols can provide for the creation of connected transport networks to manage self-driving vehicle fleets or drone-manned delivery services (Alianza DAV).

Energy Web Chain is another example of how a platform like this can improve electric sector services. Customer-focused, this was designed by a not-for-profit organisation to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy. It is optimised so that any energy asset owned by any individual or entity can participate in any energy market (Energy Web, 2020).

In other words, energy will be renewable and will not be, and digitisation can only help it to make progress, to make it accessible, and to electrify the economy, which is necessary to fight climate change and leave fossil fuels behind.

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