GTM Research has published a report, ‘Blockchain for Energy 2018: Companies & Applications for Distributed Ledger Technologies on the Grid. The reports shows how $300 million in investment capital has flowed to 122 companies trying to make use of blockchain databases in the renewable energy space – and what those companies are doing.
In January, the market set a new peak of $150 million in investments.
The applications noted as having the most immediate commercial viability were electric vehicle charging, wholesale energy trading and renewable energy credit (REC) trading.
WePower has raised $40 million since late 2017 into early 2018, the largest amount in the energy blockchain space. Their goals are to offer an easy to track coin that represents one megawatt-hour of renewable energy produced, as well smart contracts that allow for dynamic power purchase agreements. They hope adding these two pieces of software to renewable energy generator’s toolbox will improve project finance opportunities by creating a more fluid and liquid renewable electricity resale market.
According to Colleen Metelitsa, Grid Edge Analyst at GTMResearch:
The addition of blockchain-based technology to distributed energy resources, smart meters and distribution automation devices can expand their ability to transact services and leverage distributed intelligence to create new value for the energy system overall.
GTM Research pointed out to pv magazine that crowd funded, community solar type projects were experimenting with ownership and energy generation tracking tools. The Brooklyn Microgrid Project, powered by LO3, is one example.
Historically, the value of the blockchain has been in removing the intermediary of the bank from the money moving process. Some blockchain energy projects specifically aim to allow generators of energy to sell directly to off-takers, arguing that their software tools will be cheaper and more trusted by financiers than those of modern electricity utilities, whereas WePower’s goal is to partner directly with electricity utilities.