Blockchain: Opportunities in the US digital grid market 14 FEBRUARY 2018

Energy market intelligence firm Frost & Sullivan has identified five application opportunities for blockchain technologies in the US digital grid sector.

The findings include the use of blockchain in or as a:

  • Billing platform for retail sales and net metering: Blockchain’s functioning as a distributed record of transaction data can be used to create a comprehensive archive of all electricity billing data for utilities;
  • Platform for P2P trading and renewable energy certification: Blockchain platforms enable utilities to empower consumers to simply trade electricity with each other and settle payments with the help of an automated and decentralized system;
  • International energy trading: The volumes of international electricity trade, both export and import, are forecast to grow over the next 10 years to almost 83,000 TWh;
  • Electric vehicles and vehicles-to-grid: Vehicle-to-Grid is an upcoming initiative defined by the bi-directional electricity flow between the vehicle and electrical grid;
  • Customer management: Blockchain technologies could disrupt the way customer accounts are managed digitally by utilities.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the use of blockchain has the potential to improve the reliability and efficiency of grid networks, reduce utilities capital expenditure on renewable energy generation, and allow consumers to participate in peer-to-peer (P2P) trading.

Naren Pasupalati, Energy & Environment Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Most energy cryptocurrency and blockchain platforms-as-a-service companies are operating at a pilot scale, with limited revenue growth.

“However, with Mega Trends such as 5G, transactive energy, and micro-grids set to become prominent over the next five to 10 years, adoption and revenue could see explosive upsurges.

“With blockchain, the lines between consumers and utilities will be blurred; however, many states in the US still prohibit direct sales of electricity by non-utility entities to consumers.

“Regulations will need to evolve as utilities lean toward decentralized energy systems.”

The research firm says there is high potential for use of blockchain technologies in US cities, leaders in adopting advanced metering infrastructure. The cities include Washington D.C, Maine, and Nevada.

Areas such as California and Georgia, with high solar PV penetration, also have the ability to use blockchain technologies for P2P energy transactions.