One blockchain to rule them all
Utility regulator Andy Tobin of the Arizona Corporation Commission has filed a docket to explore the potential role of blockchain technology on the power grid, suggesting that we are entering an age of energy technology convergence.
The purpose of a blockchain is to store information among many, in a trusted manner – a public ledger. Its an online database, and similar to how Google ties together many disparate data centers, a blockchain ties together many individual computers. Bitcoin is used as a tool to motivate people to run the blockchain on their computer.
Another purpose of using a blockchain, in the electricity grid, would be track the usage of electricity – instantly – while connecting with many generation sources, to make sure the overall grid is supplied with a balanced amount of electricity.
And automatically, as a by product of balancing the grid among ourselves and tracking it in a public ledger, we are readying this data to be fed into automated accounting software. This can happen in near real time, with only a home computer.
And this concept is attracting more interest from not only technology enthusiasts but regulators. As the latest, earlier this week Commissioner Andy Tobin of the Arizona Corporation Commission submitted a request to open a new generic docket, titled The Commission’s Inquiry into the Role of Blockchain Technology in Arizona. (PDF)
The commissioner suggested the docket could touch on a broad range of topics:
internet of things
utility accounting and bookkeeping
tracking of renewable energy credits
applications for distributed ledger technologies on the grid
Utility Dive’s Gavin Bade spoke with Sonia Aggarwal, VP at policy analytics firm Energy Innovation, who said:
By another name, ‘transactive energy’ is advanced rate design focused on creating a marketplace for lots of providers and consumers
The commissioner, in the press release, also quoted the Energy Blockchain Network which states that “the energy industry is entering the age of the Energy Technology Convergence”.