Blockchain has disruptive potential for the energy industry. Applications are being explored globally and a new ecosystem of energy startups is emerging. In April 2016, the alleged world's first blockchain managed energy transaction occurred in Brooklyn, NY, as one resident sold excess energy from his solar rooftop installation to a neighbor, all paid for and recorded through blockchain. Industry uses of this technology are vast as it leverages decentralized peer-to-peer internet technology, where both computers and people share a distributed ledger. We are seeing companies from Austria, Germany, the USA, South Africa and the Netherlands all explore various applications across the grid and behind-the-meter.
In our latest #indigoinsights infographic below we explore the embryonic market and emerging applications across generation, transmission, distribution and customer markets. In terms of utility involvement within this space we are seeing many more pilot partnerships emerge with utilities such as RWE and Vattenfall launching test applications (to see utilities activity at the grid edge checkout Indigo Advisory Group's Infographic on how utilities are investing in energy startups). Globally, new companies to watch include Grid Singularity, Slock.it, SolarCoin, Bankymoon, LO3 Energy and Powerpeers. Many of these are using Ethereum, a public decentralized blockchain-based platform, featuring smart contract functionality.
In the near-term we expect blockchain to become a popular phrase across the energy and utilities industry, however, moving beyond pilots in the medium-term is unlikely. That said, when technology and regulation eventually do find an equilibrium in the energy industry, the long-term potential of blockchain will be transformative.
To find out more, see our dedicated blockchain in energy & utilities resource center here.