A research lab within the U.S. Department of Energy has revealed it is exploring the application of blockchain in managing next-generation power grids.
Making the announcement last week before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Carl Imhoff, a manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), said that the technology has the potential to facilitate new ways of exchanging energy in a peer-to-peer fashion.
Disclosing that the research lab is actively investigating this application of the technology, he told committee members:
"PNNL is currently working with DOE and industry partners to determine the optimal use of such resilient data concepts as blockchain in emerging market constructs such as transactive energy."
Blockchain, he explained in a prepared statement, "could be a part of grid modernization efforts, encourage distributed power generation and storage systems, and help secure emerging market constructs."
The potential of blockchain in revamping energy systems is currently being explored by both startups and established businesses worldwide, with its decentralized nature offering a new way to distribute or fund sources of power.
Further, The Department of Energy is no stranger to blockchain. In January, the agency began publicly soliciting blockchain research proposals for "novel concepts for energy systems that rely on blockchain."
PNNL image via Wikimedia Commons