My article in FORBES on July 1st, 2018.
One can point out similarities with a different trend, essential for the development of modern digital culture. I mean peer-to-peer programs that shook the music market at the beginning of our century. From music to energy the road seems to be far away, but it is worth remembering that the crypto-banker Satoshi Nakamoto, in the entry from 2009, reported that the new electronic payment system he is working on will be based on the peer – to – peer idea.
Several years ago, new software made it easier to create music at home and share it with other users. It also violated the basics of the system, at the top of which there was a record label deciding on the rates, costs, prices and distribution of music.
A place for prosumer
Is the contemporary energy recipient still dependent on large distribution networks – slowly becoming a prosumer? Who has unlimited resources and co-creates the rules of the energy market? I think so. And if not even today, it will happen in a few years. Parallel to the blockchain, our environmental awareness is developing, and blockchain and green energy harmonize with each other.
We are at the beginning of change – the energy market will continue to decentralize, because we become independent from fossil fuels that require heavy equipment and equally heavy money. In comparison to oil and coal extraction, the processing of solar and wind energy is – after the necessary initial investments – almost a game of technological gadgets. The new way of distribution and production – at home – will personalize it even more. Solar and wind energy are just beginning to be an alternative to energy obtained in traditional ways. We do not yet use massively from home charging stations for batteries that supply cars. But solar panels placed on roofs become part of the landscape of suburban housing estates around the world. We’re heating our apartments in a new way.
More and more micro-networks – entities responsible for the acquisition and distribution of green energy – can be called new generation power plants. They are separate units of the nature of a virtual power plant, and their shares are powers of several megawatts. Available technologies allow to connect a number of energy sources, both renewable and conventional, to the microgrids. In such microsystems, all electrical, pressure and gravity technologies can be used. As sustainable sources of energy, they work well in hot climates, in Australia or Africa, but also respond to the energy needs of places like Alaska.
Supporters of independent energy networks are growing both in countries with a high degree of development and in less developed areas. It is worth mentioning the growing phenomenon of smart grids, i.e. power grids characterized by advanced technological intelligence. In this case, we deal with a system of energy meters that ensure communication between all participants of the energy market. The idea here is to connect manufacturers, distributors and recipients into one network and equip it with intelligent measurement systems. Smart grids are an example of how modern technology can lead to economic efficiency experienced by the average user in his own pocket.
Microgrids mean high efficiency, because they are usually installed in the immediate vicinity of facilities that use the energy produced. Such maximum optimization of production and demand means on the occasion of a large variation in production and storage. Blockchain-based applications could be ideal for optimizing highly volatile phenomena.