White Paper – How Blockchain Will Revolutionise the Energy Sector
Austria’s second largest city, Graz, has a good track record when it comes to innovation and energy distribution. After all, it’s where Nikola Tesla, pioneer of AC induction technology and wireless electricity transmission began his academic career. Today, the city is aiming to lead in the field of renewable energy. It has a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and is home to the country’s largest solar plant, which generates thermal energy for a grid that provides heat and hot water throughout the city.
As part of this strategy, Graz has recently announced that a small number of homeowners will be invited to take part in a trial of peerto-peer (P2P) energy trading. Those homeowners with photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs will be able to sell surplus energy generated directly to their grid-reliant neighbours, with transactions logged and monitored on a blockchain built by Australian firm Power Ledger.
To meet the goals of the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change and reduce reliance on heavily polluting sources of energy, says Power Ledger co-founder and managing director Dave Martin, we all need to start changing the way we produce and consume energy today, and that means changing the way we source and pay for it. The old, centralised national grid networks are not designed to support the new energy networks that we need.
“The current energy system is geared towards high cost, high carbon energy production,” he says. “If we want to achieve a fundamentally different outcome from our energy system, we need to take a fundamentally different approach to how and where energy is produced, sold and consumed.” Demand for renewable energy is high and growing all the time, Martin adds, but for many people the initial cost outlay renders it unaffordable. Allowing those who have renewable generators to supply those who don’t can help the latter to reduce their carbon footprint, while at the same time ensuring that surplus energy isn’t wasted.
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