U.S. Department of Energy Announces Blockchain P2P Energy Framework

The U.S. Department of Energy has become the latest branch of the U.S. government to investigate applications of blockchain technology, following an announcement of a new partnership to develop a P2P energy framework on the blockchain.

The department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has partnered with blockchain startup BlockCypher to develop the technology, which will allow energy transaction settlement across several different blockchains, enabling an effective P2P energy market to operate in the blockchain ecosystem.

According to announcements this week, there are plans to demonstrate the concept of distributed energy resources (DER) by linking two homes and settling on the dash blockchain, as a means to trialing the technology.

Dylan Cutler, senior engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, said that the model could present opportunities for more efficient energy supply in future.

“Blockchain technology presents a transformative and highly scalable platform for enabling distributed energy markets, which could enable DER to interact more effectively with the larger grid. These interactions include more efficient demand response, capacity reserves, power quality support.”

Karen Hsu, a senior executive at BlockCypher, said allowing peer-to-peer energy transactions will also help in disasters, and in other circumstances where surging demand might currently cause difficulties in energy supply.

“This would be important in a natural disaster or when the grid goes down for extended periods, just like we’ve seen last year across the U.S.”

The solution is being developed on a blockchain-agnostic basis, and will also look at methods of cutting power deficits and smoothing supply and demand, through the relying on blockchain settlement of unitary energy transactions.

The move is considered an exciting development in the life cycle of blockchain technology, with the energy sector considered to be among the most significant potential beneficiaries of blockchain technology and applications.

It comes at a time of increasing efforts globally, both by energy providers and blockchain companies, to create similar solutions for blockchain energy infrastructure.

Notably, projects are also underway in the EU, Japan and Australia, as firms and energy agencies collaborate on developing more advanced blockchain solutions for the energy sector.