Thursday 19th of April 2018 | Posted In: Buy and Sell, Buying energy

Could blockchain change how we buy/sell electricity?

I always like to keep an eye on the future of the energy market and this week I saw that Elexon has published a White Paper exploring how customers could buy their electricity from more than one supplier at the same time. Rather than being locked into buying from a single supplier for typically 12-24 months.

Elexon state in the white paper that by enabling customers to buy and sell electricity from many different suppliers would enable a wide range of innovations in the electricity market, for example:

  • Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers to offer vehicles on a simple £/mile basis, including all the electricity needed to charge the vehicle.
  • Peer-to-peer trading- For example, a customer buying a neighbour's excess solar energy.
  • ‘Rapid switching’ - Where energy is purchased from different suppliers or wholesale energy sources for periods as short as a Settlement Period (Half-Hour).

Another technology innovation that has a lot of hype around it at the moment is blockchain. Whilst it has many potential applications outside of the energy industry, the first energy trade using blockchain technology has been completed as part of Ofgem’s Sandbox initiative to test innovative services and business models not possible under current regulation. This took place on a housing estate in London, where a trial has been running since November 2017 which aims to allow those living there to buy surplus renewable electricity directly from another different building or neighbour on the estate to help lower their energy costs.

Find out more about this development here and you can read Elexon’s proposal here.