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Is blockchain a gamechanger for the energy sector?

Written by Oliver Buckley, Senior Associate Director, Energy Practice

Is blockchain a gamechanger for the energy sector? Or is it doomed to fail?

Some days I get incredibly excited by a tech company’s latest ‘revolutionary’ blockchain announcement. If I could point to an area of the economy where innovation is happening at a rapid rate, it’s blockchain.

Whether it’s the latest peer-to-peer trading offer or the tokenisation of power generation, ideas are out there and entrepreneurs are looking to make things happen.

But the rational side of my brain also poses a raft of questions: 

  • Can blockchain really work in a low value commodity sector like energy? 
  • Will utility firms be able to trade successfully using blockchain technology? 
  • What will be the energy consumption for blockchain solutions?  
  • Will blockchain technology put our energy system under strain? 

These are some of the issues that will be discussed at Madano’s blockchain for energy event on 5th June.

I remember from school how the brightest kids in the class wanted to join oil companies.

Now what I see is a wave of exciting new energy technology companies challenging the status quo.

This is why multinationals have been eyeing up companies with a blockchain offer.   

Earlier this year, Shell acquired a stake in UK-based start-up Applied Blockchain, a developer of blockchain solutions for clients in a range of fields including banking, telecoms and automotive.

Last year, Centrica invested in LO3, the blockchain company behind the Brooklyn Microgrid project. Centrica announced in April the rollout of a project in Cornwall in partnership with LO3 that will test multi-party peer-to-peer trading for 200 businesses and homes.

Other majors have displayed their interest in blockchain, for example, BP announced in April that it will consider partnering with blockchain start-ups doing initial coin offerings.

If large, established companies are making these serious investments, it’s a signal that there could be a bright future for these technologies. Then again, it might just be a relatively low-risk hedging strategy by these large companies to make sure they have their ‘skin in the game’ in case blockchain technology takes off significantly and profitably.  

It’s only natural that there is scepticism. Is this healthy scepticism? That’s what Madano’s blockchain for energy event on 5th June will explore in more detail. A rich mix of stakeholders from the energy industry, business, academia, Government and media as well as the technology developers themselves will debate the pros and cons and present their own vision for the energy future.

Madano helps clients define their strategy and deliver objectives through insight, creativity and communication. If you’d like to know more about our expertise in energy, resources and sustainability please get in touch.  

If you’d like to learn more about Madano’s blockchain for energy event taking place on Tuesday 5th June 2018, please email me.