This Blockchain-Based Energy Platform Is Building A Peer-To-Peer Grid
Residential solar customers are already used to selling power back to the grid. When their rooftop panels produce more electricity than is needed at any time, they can send the energy to the wider network and gain a credit on their utility bill in return. That process is called net metering. In the future, however, this process may seem somewhat controlled and anachronistic. Instead, we may sell power not only to utility companies but to each other.
That’s the vision of a European startup called WePower. The operative innovation behind the project is the blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology that first came to prominence as a way to track and record bitcoin transactions. Blockchains have since been adapted to trade all kinds of digital assets from loyalty points and insurance contracts to electrons.
WePower is yet to launch, but its proposition is radical. On one side, it’s gathering together producers of renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydro plants. On the other, it’s signing up investors who pay upfront for the right to consume electricity generated by those plants. To do this, it’s created its own cryptocurrency, a token called WPR. Each token represents one kilowatt-hour of power produced and are themselves tradable on the platform.
Photo courtesy of uditha wickramanayaka.