Watch this World Energy Forum video. In just a few moments of your time you will see a new energy world becoming a reality. One where local generation, the sharing economy, digitisation and connected devices converge to create fairer, sustainable and more affordable energy choices. The really great news is, though the Bangkok project uses blockchain which many will fear carries costs and technology risk at this stage of maturity, blockchain is not needed to make this happen today.
The electricity system is awash with data already. The urgent challenges are accessing it, connecting it all up and, most critically, engaging consumers in a meaningful way.
Simply using widely available smart meter data, here in New Zealand, we at emhTrade are already engaging consumers with new transactive energy retail choices. Through our solar share matching algorithms we can connect consumer solar generation with consumers with the capacity to change when they use energy to most efficiently use solar, enabling peer to peer and community energy networks..
Our transactive energy platform works with the current system to take market data, network signals and meter data, and combine these with consumer preferences to work out the best time to use power (cheapest, cleanest, community, etc). Our APIs can then interface to retailer and distributor apps or direct to devices to help people use cheaper, cleaner or more power, with smart meter data tracking their performance to engage and reward them. In our own app we offer specific customer journeys to help people meet values based preferences i.e. for cheaper or greener power. And perhaps unsurprisingly since we can now engage with consumers about what they do care about, and reward them for their actions, consumers love it.
We are in an industry where consumers are renowned for spending minutes a year thinking about power - probably when faced with a shocking bill. Yet we have weekly engagement rates of 60-80% (and that excludes what consumers do with their daily notifications). Engagement has great value itself (tackling churn, enabling cross sell or personalised experiences), but this multiplies when it helps consumers become transactive, creating flexible demand that deliver savings from across the supply chain.
Blockchain offers exciting new possibilities and should be part of innovators’ roadmaps. As we seek to optimise and monetise the value of instantaneous PV and flexible demand matching, for instance, incumbent systems just do not have the granularity. As we seek to contract the capacity of individual behind the meter devices or strip out the costs of retailer credit and prudential management, smart contracts and distributed ledger processing become very attractive. Blockchain can play a part in tracking lifecycle entitlements from new generation and distributed energy resources enabling new funding mechanisms and risk sharing options that will accelerate.
But there is no need to wait to start helping consumers now and cut costs from retail operations, networks or markets, or to deliver new community energy and microgrids optimisation solutions. We can achieve a great deal with the regulations, data and markets we have today. We'd love to share our experiences and learn from yours, so please reach out and contact any of our team or post your comments here.