Last week this publication focused on challenges and potential the energy industry faces with blockchain technologies – and now a new trial will put this into focus.
Centrica, a UK-based multinational energy and services provider and parent of British Gas, the largest supplier in the UK, has announced it is coming together with LO3 Energy to ‘explore how blockchain technology could revolutionise the way consumers buy and sell energy.’
LO3 Energy, based out of New York and Oregon, has developed Exergy, a platform which aims to ‘decentralise energy’, creating localised marketplaces for transacting energy across existing grid infrastructure. The company was named in an article from Nexergy back in August as a leading blockchain player in the energy industry.
Centrica will be working with LO3 on a £19 million ($25.8m) local energy market (LEM) programme, which explores how new approaches can disrupt traditional energy models. The target market for the trial is the south west of England, while the two companies are also working on a trial in North America for a business-to-business energy network.
“The proliferation of digital technologies is having a significant impact on the energy industry, allowing us to find new and better ways of delivering energy and services to our customers,” said Mark Hanafin, chief executive of Centrica Business in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to test blockchain technology beyond the theoretical and put it into practice, developing innovative new solutions that will empower consumers in the UK, North America and beyond to take control of how they engage with energy.”
Earlier this month, Energy Cities, the European association of local authorities in energy transition, published a paper, ‘Blockchains and Energy Transition: What Challenges for Cities?’, which detailed the applications and use cases for blockchain technologies in the sector. Transaction processing, documenting asset ownership and certification were all cited, as well as potentially offsetting CO2 emissions.
Energy and utilities providers are making various advances into automated and connected technologies. Thames Water, for instance, is having to make inroads into the Internet of Things (IoT); as Stephanie Baker, programming manager, told an audience at IoT Tech Expo last month: “London is running dry.” The company is in the process of installing mandatory smart meters – which, incidentally, is also part of LO3 Energy’s proposition.
You can find out more about the trial here.