Crypto-currencies inspired by bitcoin and based on the principle of blockchain, are receiving favourable media attention in recent times due to their varied potential applications. The energy sector is no exception, several experiments show their interest in using blockchain to enhance distributed generation and to allow the purchase and sale of electricity produced by consumers.
Blockchain is a public ledger maintained by a network of computers, where blocks of data are chained together in an unbreakable way. This ensures a permanent record of all transactions validated through a decentralized process relying on cryptography.
The most prominent use of blockchain in the energy sector so far is in enabling a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) energy trading model. This means discarding the need of any third-party intermediary, such as a Distribution System Operator (DSO).
Where a provider and a customer agree to engage in a transaction, they define the framework of the latter by identifying the recipient, the sender and the size of the transaction, amongst other things. Such a step represents a major paradigm change in the way electrical energy transactions are managed.
Furthermore, the blockchain is also functioning as a distributed permanent record of transactions which can be used to build an extensive archive of all electricity billing data. Hence, after a smart metering deployment, blockchain technology could become a tool that consumers can use to access their electrical consumption data from their digital electricity meters.
Besides, the development of Internet of Things (IoT) smart metering software applications should enable the grid to quickly and automatically reroute power so as to prevent a massive blackout in the event of an extreme weather event or a disruption to normal grid operations.
Rapid changes in electrical energy production and consumption models are undoubtedly fostering the utilisation of blockchain in the utilities sector. Nevertheless, many prevailing blockchain technologies are still immature, unproven and largely unregulated. Extreme caution is necessary when embarking on a distributed-ledger technology especially while interacting with vendors.
Islam, Consultant, Leyton France
 POP, Claudia, CIOARA, Tudor, ANTAL, Marcel, et al. Blockchain Based Decentralized Management of Demand Response Programs in Smart Energy Grids. Sensors, 2018, vol. 18, no 1, p. 162.
 PwC global power & utilities. Blockchain – an opportunity for energy producers and consumers? Available at : https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/assets/pwc-blockchain-opportunity-for-energy-producers-and-consumers.pdf
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