The energy sector is no exception, having a particularly favorable context: the multiplication of self-producers raises significant challenges for traditional distribution networks. Can the blockchain solve these problems?
In New York, a pilot experiment is attracting considerable interest from the media and major energy groups. The “Transactive Grid” project, carried out by LO3, aims to demonstrate the importance of mini-grids. In this project, the inhabitants of five houses, according to their needs and the amount of energy produced, can exchange energy in real time with five other houses across the street. With blockchain technology, electric energy circulates without a human or economic intermediary, on the principle of “smart contracts”.
What strategy for traditional actors?
This was enough for some to announce the end of the traditional distribution networks and the advent of “prosumers”. The reality is much more nuanced. While the blockchain opens the possibility of a more reliable (more forgery proof), more efficient and decentralized network, as well as the reappropriation by citizens of their energy production, the issue of large-scale deployment remains. The legal and regulatory framework will also need to evolve. In the medium term, a hybrid distribution network combining traditional power stations and smart local networks could emerge. The major energy utilities have anticipated this change and many have already engaged in this technological shift.