The smart energy sector is wide and affects different fields: from smart city technologies, to energy production from renewable sources, as well as systems for reducing energy consumption in the industrial and civil sectors and software for environmental technologies. In particular, smart energy refers to the new way of relating to the energy supply, through the installation of smart electricity meter, which enables to manage better energy consumption and deliver renewable energy into the grid.
The need for a greater energy supply and the consequent necessity to find new solutions able to satisfy this demand, derive from the evolutionary progress of technology. Compared to the past, in fact, electric tools and home automation systems are increasingly protagonists within our homes. Therefore, the energy need has increased. Nowadays, envisaging a future without energy would be strange for everyone. It is clear that energy is now the basis of modern evolution.
The main objectives of smart energy are two:
HOW TO ENSURE ENERGY SAVING?
Several energy supplier companies talk about eco-sustainable rates, with a lower cost than ordinary consumption. With the photovoltaic or wind energy the energy system changes: each user no longer takes energy from the main electricity grid but becomes a producer, for his/her daily needs. Energy saving starts from the distribution chain and it strengthens through the adoption of innovative tools, from the simplest ones, such as LED lamps, to those that are more complex, such as storage systems.
Following the energy saving approach, the problem of the non-programmability of renewable energy could be solved, by combining photovoltaic storage systems together with blockchain technology.
In case of overproduction, in fact, this technology enables to divide the energy surplus into energy packages to be stored in the storage systems. It also gives the possibility to keep track of these energy packages and to feed them back on the grid only in case of need. Therefore, blockchain can encourage the use of decentralised clean energy and it can ensure greater energy efficiency. Let’s look together at the other possible uses of this technology in the energy sector.
THE USE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN THE SMART ENERGY SECTOR
Digitisation is changing the entire economy system and the various service companies have already started to adapt to this reality, each one in its own reference sector.
The German company Enercity introduced in 2016 the possibility for its customers to pay in bitcoins. Susanna Zapreva, former CEO of Enercity, stated that “Digitisation is already part of the daily life of our customers in many areas. We want to offer our customers the best in all energy-related issues. The possibility to pay with bitcoins is just one step on the path to the digital future”.
Also in Italy, the digital energy company Sorgenia has implemented for its customers the possibility of purchasing some services by cryptocurrency, thanks to the agreement with the Italian startup Chianside, officially announced on 2nd October 2019. Therefore, Sorgenia becomes the first Italian company to introduce in the energy sector the opportunity to exploit the benefits and the security of the blockchain.
In particular, users will be able to pay by bitcoins smart home and smart mobility solutions (such as hoverboards and electric scooters). Once the bitcoin payment has been made, the charge will be made with an exchange rate aligned to the value of the virtual currency at the time of the transition. The company also states its willingness to extend the possibility of exploiting the blockchain technology also for bill payments.
In 2017, in the water services sector, another Italian company, Abbanoa, developed the idea of certifying the meter reading through blockchain technology, in order to base the relationship with the customer on the absolute certainty of consumption and on the accuracy and correctness of the billing. The system adopted by Abbanoa was developed ad hoc with the collaboration of FlossLab srl, a spinoff of the University of Cagliari, company at the forefront in the study and supply of solutions based on the blockchain. The first certification of water services data in Italy (and also among the first in Europe) was written by Abbanoa about the bitcoin blockchain on 11 September 2017. Today, Abbanoa continues to introduce smart electricity meter devices throughout Sardinia. Invoicing is based only on real time readings and the data certification is guaranteed by the innovative blockchain technology.
In conclusion, probably the energy market will change deeply over the next years.
In the meanwhile, we can only keep observing the evolution of blockchain and its development in the energy sector and in many other sectors.