Vermont’s largest electric utility is using blockchain platform LO3 Energy for its new energy marketplace pilot project, embracing blockchain tech as Green Mountain Power (GMP) drives toward a 100% renewable goal in the next five years.
GMP’s program is called Vermont Green and will be available through a mobile app for GMP’s 220,612 customers on Dec. 3.
It allows Vermonters to buy and sell renewables with a blockchain storing their transactions.
Energy blog Microgrid Knowledge first reported the new service after it was revealed in a Nov. 18 filing with the state regulator.
Since winning a 2016 patent for geothermal energy transfers, green energy startup LO3 has built out high-profile partnerships for its peer-to-peer system. It won an undisclosed sum investment from fossil fuel giant Shell in July.
With this launch, LO3 Energy becomes the service of choice in Vermont’s latest green energy campaign. GMP picked LO3’s proposal from six different applicants, according to the filing, recognizing that blockchain provides the best solution for user privacy and transaction immutability.
Additionally, blockchain allows the service to grow alongside an increasingly decentralized marketplace, the regulatory filing said.
“As an increasing number of distributed assets are deployed across GMP’s service territory, GMP views the ability to utilize distributed consensus associated with blockchain as a potential means to efficiently track this chain of custody going forward.”
As it stands, market participants will set bids for renewable energy credits on the GMP app, host to LO3’s Pando energy marketplace. The utility expects renewable-conscious businesses in particular to buy credits through the app.
Stakeholders believe the pilot marketplace shores up a problem in Vermont’s renewables-heavy energy sector; with services like home solar panels booming, there’s more than enough electricity to go around.
“There’s a huge appetite for local businesses to be 100 percent renewable and at the same time there’s an increasing amount of home solar production,” LO3 Energy founder and CEO Lawrence Orsini said in a statement.
“This platform pairs the local supply with demand at the grid edge and we are delighted to be working with GMP to bring this market to commercial reality.”
Graham Turk, Innovation strategist for GMP, wrote in the Nov. 18 filing that blockchain works in this use scenario.
“Blockchain is uniquely-suited for tracking chains of custody (especially for non-physical assets like VGAs), creating a more transparent tracking system for buyers, sellers, and regulators. LO3’s platform is designed with scalability in mind and such future expansion may be found practical.”