Blockchain: How Renewable Energy Is Taking A Page From Bitcoin
Nov 29, 2016
Laurent Schmitt

Bitcoin is one of the most revolutionary ideas to come out of the tech world. A whole new form of currency was created from nothing, but people are now using it to buy everything from coffee to electronics.

But the lasting impact of bitcoin may end up being blockchain, the technology that makes the currency work. Blockchain has the potential to integrate renewable energy into the electricity grid in a way that is clean, easy and meaningful to the average energy consumer.

First, a brief primer on blockchain. The technology is complicated, but think of it as a giant ledger that is constantly and instantly updated. Every time anyone buys or sells anything using bitcoin, a record of that transaction goes on the blockchain. That means virtual funds clear instantly leading to a permanent, searchable and anonymous record of every transaction. This eliminates the need for middle parties like transaction clearing houses or credit card companies.

The financial world is already taking advantage of this technology. New companies are sprouting up using blockchain to speed up fund transfers and facilitate banks’ peer-to-peer consumer transactions.

But blockchain isn’t only changing the world of finance. In the future, transactions of anything of value could use blockchain— titles, deeds, music, art and potentially even green energy.

As more renewables come online, they create a tricky problem for grid operators. Since people cannot control how much sun shines or how much wind blows, there’s a constant risk of either too much or too little energy flow. When there’s too little, operators can compensate by firing up hydro or fossil fuel generators where are more reliable. But dealing with too much energy presents a complex challenge.

To solve this challenge, GE is helping create a new type of community in Carros in the South of France. The town residents are some of the world’s first “prosumers”: producer consumers who both create and use energy.

Essentially each house is like its own little power plant, as residents actually produce their own energy. They can either use it, store it or even sell it, helping keep the flow of electricity in the Goldilocks zone (not too little, not too much).

This is all doable because Carros is home to the world’s first smart solar grid: a large scale experiment to integrate renewables into the grid. GE worked with French grid operator Enedis to install solar panels on residential and commercial rooftops, implement demand response technologies and create battery storage across the grid. It is all analyzed by GE’s Distributed Energy Resource Management (DERM) software, which meshes consumption information with forecasts from the grid and weather reports.

This is helping transform Carros into a constellation of microgrids where consumers (or better put, prosumers) can instantly buy and sell electricity from each other depending on their needs. Home owners who are gone during the day can sell their electricity to businesses that need more daytime energy. And when they return home they can buy electricity from local batteries, electric vehicles or from businesses that can flexibly respond to changing energy prices.

A similar approach has been adopted in Australia. Energy startup Power Ledger recently started a trial program around Perth that lets people use blockchain to directly trade energy with one another.

Software will be the key to making this new economy work. Things like DERM enable those transactions while making sure energy flows do not exceed the physical wire capacity.

Blockchain technology will for sure elevate this to a whole new level moving forward. On top of bitcoins, we could exchange “greencoins,” enabling the transfer of energy blocks instantly. Combine smart grids with blockchain and you have the potential for the cheap, clean flow of renewable energy from the grid to homes and from homes to the grid, with all of it transparently.

For right now, this is still a peek into the future. In the future, we’ll all be producing and consuming electricity. And as we’ve seen in Carros, it’s a bright future indeed.


Leave a comment


Bardwell Chingwena (not verified)
This is brilliant!
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
63d2ff4224 (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
db62cfafd5 (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
8d0463e86a (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
vcode (not verified)
Cesar Estrada (not verified)
Thanks for the note. The future of smart grids is wonderfull. All people producing and consuming electricity. Regards César
Nkrumah Offonry (not verified)
This is absolutely fascinating! The block chain almost works like a cloud - you could say like a programming stack - and would definitely become more prominent in energy grids and technology innovations in the future.
Olufemi Adewale (not verified)
Good read for all who generate or consume electricity. Thanks.
Dr. Sebastian Groh (not verified)
Great article. Just to add on to it - ME SOLshare, a multiple award winning Bangladesh based company, has started to interconnect the country's 5 million solar home systems in smart peer-to-peer grids. The first grid went online in November 2015! -> It would be interesting to see whether blockchain has a role to play in energy access.
yjxmtqkb (not verified)
wrFgNL <a href="">jatbyhqrpmzh</a>, [url=]kkuroiiucrox[/url], [link=]kdcntnzmxghc[/link],
qopfjxyhnt (not verified)
iD6QDG <a href="">mdhaiabiiega</a>, [url=]faadieunhyto[/url], [link=]mwjcrpsuznnt[/link],
rzwhsb (not verified)
t9rK7d <a href="">wdlvphfjcpul</a>, [url=]bbsrsnqinthx[/url], [link=]ijijsurpunqn[/link],
odgwslpqtyf (not verified)
Lojmdw <a href="">yttbtiioqbzp</a>, [url=]ceaazhoydxfy[/url], [link=]vdwyphkorjrh[/link],
gheeob (not verified)
9NiFsL <a href="">gxdklnofqhss</a>, [url=]zhsnnrkcwkyh[/url], [link=]rjovdqnazxbx[/link],
masters in education (not verified)
After looking into a handful of the blog posts on your web page, I really like your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site too and let me know what you think. masters in education
Sarahchomi (not verified)
Howdy, I think your website could be having browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful site! <a href=>homeschooling</a>
good business news (not verified)
Hi! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask. Does building a well-established website like yours require a large amount of work? I'm brand new to running a blog but I do write in my diary every day. I'd like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it! good business news
small business ... (not verified)
Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, excellent site! small business credit
small business ... (not verified)
No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, therefore he/she desires to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here. small business credit
Donnatip (not verified)
Great blog here! Additionally your web site quite a bit up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I want my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol <a href=>online education</a>
Valerieepifs (not verified)
This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Kudos! <a href=>make money online</a>
masters education (not verified)
Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one? Thanks a lot! masters education
online educatio... (not verified)
Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your website accidentally, and I'm surprised why this twist of fate did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it. online education degrees
college tips (not verified)
Hello, its good post about media print, we all know media is a great source of information. college tips
online educatio... (not verified)
Asking questions are genuinely good thing if you are not understanding anything fully, however this paragraph offers fastidious understanding yet. online education programs
Oksanakarap (not verified)
kwasica leczenie dna moczanowa nieleczona <a href=></a> objawy podagry dna moczowa objawy
JimmiXzSw (not verified)
copie bracelets... (not verified)
cartierbraceletlove Si fuera por nombres el Madrid estaría con los mismos puntos que el Barcelona, Dany. A ver qué deparan la promesas y buenas intenciones de año nuevo de los jugadores blancos, pero está más igualado de lo que estoy leyendo por ahí fuera. copie bracelets love cartier
Valerieepifs (not verified)
This is a topic which is near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though? <a href=>small business services</a>
Donnatip (not verified)
I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos <a href=>online courses</a>


Related Posts

Laurent Schmitt

Laurent is the Smart Grid Strategy Leader at Grid Solutions from GE Energy Connections. He leads a team of solution specialists that integrate software, control and automation technologies to enable grid modernization towards smarter, more digitalized and efficient infrastructures, facilitating renewable integration.  Prior to this role, he was the Vice President for Smart Grid Solutions at Alstom. He started his career 19 years ago with Alstom in the field of Power Generation controls.