The blockchain technology provides data management without the risk of manipulation or unauthorised access, allowing critical information to be exchanged between various authorised users.
In the power sector, the technology can ensure digitisation, deregulation, decentralisation, distribution, and democratisation. It can open possibilities ranging from peer-to-peer exchange to creating a global energy ecosystem. With transactional security and reliability as its core capability, it can help create immutable records, strengthening systems like bill payment, solar renewable energy certificates, e-charging infrastructure and more.
With time, all electricity meters could be fitted with blockchain nodes, making them capable of plugging into a single power exchange to directly exchange electricity between themselves. It can be applied as a pilot, with reduced scope, to models such as micro-grids, independent power producer settlements, grid settlements and wholesale market trading. Blockchains can make smart meters more potent by providing accurate data to the supplier without the need for a direct link to specific users, lending more control to the end user. With the promotion for e-vehicles and people moving to electric cars, supply and demand needs to keep pace. Blockchain can help in the scenario with its interconnectivity, thereby balancing the demand from multiple sources and direct sharing, making the grid smarter and modular.
Blockchain can play a crucial role in optimising power flows through the integration and optimisation of local grids controlled by the public, private or consortium modes helping in the maintenance of permanent records by contractors, giving a clear view of a specific object or piece of infrastructure, as well as allowing the update of the ownership data at any given time. This information can be accessed easily as the system is built on a shared platform, while maintaining the authenticity of the record.
Over the long term, blockchain can play a key role in managing distributed energy resources or virtual power plants which are, mainly, strategically clustered and dispersed assets with large electricity generators and energy storage systems. It can help operators tremendously in controlling these plants to estimate energy outflow from conventional sources, so as to minimise fluctuations.
In the case of renewable energy, it can also allow them to keep a close check on the complexity of production forecast as it varies for every generation facility, thereby allowing effective participation in the energy exchange for higher revenue. Blockchain has the potential to disrupt the existing value chain for power utilities and fulfil the future vision of a distributed energy-sharing economy.