US Government Lab Looks to Blockchain for P2P Energy

NEWS
Sujha Sundararajan
Jan 24, 2018 at 11:00 UTC  |  Updated  Jan 24, 2018 at 13:27 UTC

Blockchain startup BlockCypher has partnered with a U.S. Department of Energy lab to develop solutions allowing energy transactions to be settled across multiple blockchains.

The energy agency's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and BlockCypher first plan to demonstrate peer-to-peer energy transactions involving distributed energy resources (DER) over the dash cryptocurrency network between two test homes in the NREL's energy facility, said Dylan Cutler, senior engineer for the initiative at NREL.

He said in a release:

"Blockchain technology presents a transformative and highly scalable platform for enabling distributed energy markets, which could enable DER to interact more effectively with the larger grid. These interactions include more efficient demand response, capacity reserves, power quality support."

According to Karen Hsu, head of growth at BlockCypher, people can exchange renewable energy peer to peer with the project's technology. "This would be important in a natural disaster or when the grid goes down for extended periods, just like weve seen last year across the U.S.," she said.

The solution - which is planned to be blockchain agnostic - would also help streamline energy consumption by matching power generation with demand, and reducing power deficits during times of high energy usage, Hsu added.

Smart meters with the ability to exchange cryptocurrency for electricity could also make the grid "more efficient and stable by enabling the monetization of stored energy and energy production at the endpoints of the grid," said Dash Core's CEO, Ryan Taylor.

Globally, Australian, Japanese, and European energy providers have been starting to develop blockchain-based energy projects in recent months.

Further, a research lab within the U.S. Department of Energy revealed last October that it is exploring the application of blockchain in managing next-generation power grids. In January 2017, the agency began publicly soliciting blockchain research proposals for "novel concepts for energy systems that rely on blockchain."

Wind Turbines image via Shutterstock

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BlockCypherEnergyUS Department of Energy

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