A new report from Navigant Research examines potential use cases for blockchain in transactive energy (TE) systems within the distribution grid.
TE is a two-way grid management approach that ensures the proper functioning of power networks that have large amounts of distributed energy resources (DER) and allows DER owners to earn a commensurate return on their investments. Blockchain, a technology that supports decentralized transaction types, has emerged as a potential technology to underpin a TE platform in the utility industry. According to the report, while not a one-size-fits-all solution, blockchain has the potential to deliver significant benefits to a TE platform.
“Are TE and blockchain an appropriate match in practice? There is no simple answer to that question because of the many different blockchain applications and TE programs,” says Stuart Ravens, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “We do know that blockchain’s distributed ledger has many advantages over centralized databases.”
Blockchain, as part of a TE platform, could help mitigate the costs of dealing with the issues caused by distributed and intermittent generation, including power quality, equipment reliability, and network balancing. Historically, the costs for these issues have been borne by the utility customer base, leading to complaints that traditional customers are unfairly burdened for the benefits enjoyed by DER owners.
The report, Blockchain for Transactive Energy Platforms, discusses potential blockchain use cases in TE systems. The study discusses the diversity of scenarios, application goals, and flavors of blockchain applications and TE programs. It also examines the requirements for TE, what blockchain brings to the TE table and provides recommendations for potential developers of TE solutions employing blockchain technology. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.