What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Green Energy 2018

World Bank/Dana Smillie Sustainable energy.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: David Martin, Co-founder and Managing Director, Power Ledger

That carbon emissions from power generation are one of the leading causes of climate change is nothing new, nor is the fact that the proliferation of clean energy sources is key to fighting it.

In 2015, the UNFCCC Paris Agreement brought (almost) all nations into a common cause, outlining an ambitious effort to combat climate change. As part of this, measures by nations to implement domestic renewable energy production targets were ratified. They started down their respective paths to realizing their commitments through the development of predominantly large-scale wind and solar farms.

Gone are the days that renewable energy solutions are seen as just an act of corporate social responsibility. Significant reductions in renewable energy costs and maturing market and policy environments have also made them attractive sources of energy in their own right, presenting us with an opportunity to pivot away from traditional, carbon-intensive power generation.

We have arrived at a technological epoch where we are able to implement cost-effective renewables with software systems that can address the complexity of future electricity distribution across our networks. These two advances will be the catalyst towards the de-carbonization of our energy consumption.

But that’s not to say we should just build more low-carbon utility-scale solar and wind farms to limit the impacts of climate change. The old paradigm of energy access through grid extension alone is becoming obsolete, as bottom-up consumer demand is motivating millions of households to generate their own low-cost, clean energy.

However, these consumers-turned-prosumers are also becoming aware that defecting from the grid is becoming more cost-effective as regulatory frameworks once designed to protect end users are failing to present convincing reasons to stay connected.

At a grassroots level, a consumer-driven movement towards a distributed renewable energy future is already occurring. The energy industry must reflect on the emerging physical realities of a new energy paradigm – energy systems as a series of dynamic, integrated and distributed energy markets, with Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) playing an increasingly important and value-creating role at a distribution level.

Technological advances, particularly the emergence of digital peer-to-peer (P2P) systems, are redesigning the way we buy and sell energy by changing the nature of the agreements that support commercial transactions. This is unlocking the layers of value made available through DER integration into our electricity networks.

The value case for blockchain in this is that it is perfectly designed to implement distributed systems. It can be utilized to help manage the complex multiplicity of transactions required to transition towards these emerging distributed markets in a relatively seamless way.

They are able to function through the provision of data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and other sources. Using close-to-real-time data from smart metres and other sensing devices, each transaction that occurs between the layers of services in a distributed market can be immutably recorded on the blockchain, and the information relayed to the Distribution System Operator for system planning purposes, checks and balances.

If utilities embrace DERs, underwritten by a blockchain-based P2P platform, we can create an efficient, multi-agent distributed electricity system comprised of prosumers, consumers and networks trading energy across an ecosystem built on cheap, clean and reliable energy.

In this ecosystem, prosumers receive a better return on their renewable energy assets, while consumers get cheaper electricity. For the utilities, transmission and network costs become lower, grid extension requirements less frequent and their customers incentivized to remain connected.

For this solution to work, government and industry will be required to embrace a fundamental change in the way they perceive the energy sector, or else be presented with the scenario of mass defection from existing power systems, leaving billions of dollars of infrastructure at risk of economic obsolescence.

The time is ripe for decision-makers to reimagine the way we generate, buy and sell energy. DERs, underpinned by the blockchain, can be a driving force for tackling climate change and realizing our low-cost, low-carbon energy future.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How can coronavirus lockdowns end safely and effectively? – WHO briefing

These 5 industries can drive digital financial inclusion

Can we balance conservation and development? Science says yes

Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle shows concrete results for EU citizens

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

How Bangladesh’s leaders should respond to the economic threats of COVID-19

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

Mobile health: The future of global healthcare

Brexit: European Commission publishes Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Instability in Africa’s Sahel, spreading outwards, Security Council told

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

Pesticides: MEPs propose blueprint to improve EU approval procedure

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

The West is struggling to hit its climate targets. What would the developing world do differently?

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

As Yemen relief operations face funding gap, timing of surge in violence ‘couldn’t be worse’

A European student just sets the question of the day: What kind of education policies are missing in Europe?

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

European Union policy for improving drought preparedness and mitigation

Parliament adopts new rules for short-stay visas

‘Passport to dignity’ that schools represent may expire fast, without emergency funding warns UN Palestine refugee agency

Precision medicine should be accessible to all

We have to fight for a fairer tech industry for women

Madrid is banning high-polluting vehicles from the city centre

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Disability inclusion, minimum wage, and LGBTI rights in Botswana

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

“Will TTIP solve the massive EU-US unemployment? Absolutely not!” A revealing Sting Exclusive with Tim Bennett from the Transatlantic Business Council

The financial future of Eurozone on the agenda of Friday’s ECOFIN council

Sign language protects ‘linguistic identity and cultural diversity’ of all users, says UN chief

Here are 4 tips for governing by design in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

Menu for change: why we have to go towards a Common Food Policy

Aid convoy for north-east Syria postponed over security concerns – UN relief chief

The European Sting at the Retail Forum for Sustainability live from Barcelona

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Meet the man who drove from the Netherlands to Australia without visiting a gas station

Is there a way out of the next financial crisis? Can more printed money or austerity save us all?

How India’s government can build better contracts with blockchain

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

How bad could British healthcare get for its citizens abroad post-Brexit?

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Going climate-neutral: expert-group recommendations to help energy-intensive industries contribute to the EU’s 2050 target

COVID-19: MEPs want safe vaccines, full transparency and liability for companies

How do we make artificial intelligence more humane?

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

EU-China: Council authorises signature of the agreement on geographical indications

5 shocking facts about inequality, according to Oxfam’s latest report

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

It’s time to build a responsible media supply chain

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

Myanmar willing to repatriate ‘verified returnees’ from Bangladesh

From farms to supermarkets: MEPs approve new EU rules against unfair trading

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s