Blockchain is more than just a buzzword. It truly has the potential to turn entire industries on their heads.
In many ways, the energy sector has been slow to adopt this new tech, but things are finally beginning to change.
As ‘Big Energy’ begins to catch up, many market leaders and investors are looking towards blockchain for a more transparent and efficient energy future. Just one of these capabilities would be to enable the energy industry to adopt a peer-to-peer trading model, completely revolutionizing the way energy is bought and sold.
The below chart reflects the rapid growth of renewables in U.S. power generation:
The rise of renewable energy has accelerated the adoption of blockchain technology and thanks to the rapid growth of Distributed Energy Grids (DERs) and the popularization of solar and other independent sources of renewable energy, many consumers are now producing their own power in excess, and selling it back into the grid.
While these producer-consumers are revolutionizing the way that the energy market works on a small scale, they remain a microcosm of the age-old market model, as their buying and selling remains under the control of the utilities.
With the introduction of the blockchain decentralized network, producers and consumers would finally be able to buck this system and trade energy directly within a designated area. It’s an untapped market with big potential, and some small companies are already looking to corner it.
Brooklyn Microgrid, with their borough-specific energy-trading app, and Grid Singularity, a European start-up looking to facilitate exchange of granular and private data in the energy market across the pond, are making waves in the space.
Another company, Global Blockchain Technologies Corp., is taking a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on the energy market, BLOC is looking to create in-house innovation incubators in order to maximize the potential of new blockchain technologies, creating entirely new platforms for entrepreneurs to build their own products and launch their own ICOs.
With BLOC’s help, an entirely new wave of blockchain-based ideas will surely hit the market in no time. From energy innovations, to anti-corruption platforms, and beyond. The company’s CEO, Rik Willard, notes: “We understand that the assimilation of blockchain-based technology and decentralized trade tools will take place at breakneck speed, and we want to provide the tools necessary to facilitate this revolution.”
Out of all of the companies using blockchain tech, peer-to-peer trading remains the most common application, but it’s far from the only significant use.
In addition to this advancement in trading, Blockchain would also enable the energy industry to develop cryptocurrencies for use within the marketplace. This is already happening in Japan, with Marubeni Corporation accepting cryptocurrency payments, and in South Africa, where Bankymoon partnered with Usizo to enable cryptocurrency payments for bitcoin-compatible smart meters.
Blockchain has the potential to shake up the energy industry in countless ways, but perhaps the most disruptive would be a new, radical level of transparency. A wide-scale adoption of blockchain would create significantly more transparency at all levels. On a grand scale, every time a barrel of oil is bought or sold, it would be documented on a digital ledger, leaving an unprecedented “paper” trail. While the buyers and sellers themselves will remain anonymous, these transactions will be publicly visible like never before.
For the first time ever, millions of annual transactions would be publicly visible and auditable thanks to the database created by blockchain technology. On each energy platform, interested parties would be able to follow every individual trade and its price and volume, and the users will remain anonymous. This maintains the protection of private trading, while the transactions would be viewable by anyone, making it less susceptible to manipulation, corruption, and hacking.
It’s a brave new world. In the near future, everyone will want their piece of the pie, transparency is key, and blockchain will be the solution.
British Petroleum (NYSE:BP) is a multi-national oil and gas supermajor, and the sixth largest energy company on the planet. The company is over 100 years old and is not afraid of reinventing the wheel. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.
As blockchain forced its way into nearly every industry, BP took note. In October 2017, BP begun experimenting with a blockchain-based oil trading platform, with the goal of implementing “practical and ethical” uses of the technology.
With BP’s forward-thinking mindset and vast amount of resources and assets, the company is always looking to learn about and adopt new technology.
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), a pioneer in computing and data analytics, is another innovative leader that is set to see sales soar from the energy digitalization wave. The Intel Scalable System Framework and HPC solutions allows oil and gas companies to rapidly process seismic data, reservoir simulation and high-fidelity data visualization.
In other words, Intel provides the software and high-powered computing to allow oil and gas drillers to move a lot faster, make better decisions, and ultimately recover more oil and gas at a fraction of the price. The old days of sticking a drill in the ground and hoping for the best are gone. Oil drilling is increasingly a computerized affair. Intel’s Scalable System Framework integrates the hardware with the software.
Halliburton (NYSE: HAL): In August, Halliburton announced a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to enter into a strategic alliance to drive digital transformation across the oil and gas industry. The marriage between one of the largest oilfield service companies with a leader in computing will bring machine learning, augmented reality (AR), user interactions and the Industrial Internet of Things to the oil and gas industry.
The partnership of Big Oil and Big Data will allow for “real-time data streaming from IoT edge devices in oilfields and the ability to apply deep-learning models to optimize drilling and production to lower costs for customers,” the companies said in an August press release.
TransCanada (TSX:TRP, NYSE:TRP): is a major oil and energy company based in Calgary, Canada. The company owns and operates energy infrastructure throughout North America. TransCanada is one of the continent’s largest providers of gas storage, and owns and has interests in approximately 11,800 megawatts of power generations.
With TransCanada’s massive influence throughout North America, it is no wonder that the company is among one of Canada’s highest valued energy companies. Investors can feel comfortable with the company due to its huge and diverse portfolio, and continuing eye for success.
Pure Technologies LTD (TSE:PUR): Pure technologies is all about critical infrastructure including water and wastewater pipelines, oil and gas pipelines, and bridges and structures. One of Pure Tech’s biggest achievements in this space is its SoundPrint acoustic monitoring technology, which is set to revolutionize the industry
Though PUR dipped to CAD$3.95 in March 2017, it has climbed steadily since then. Investors are watching Pure Technologies closely and the company is sure to be a valuable addition to numerous portfolios going forward
By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com
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