Blockchain based microgrid pilot projects

Intro

Recent technological developments have made it more cost effective to produce, convert and store energy locally. These lower costs, together with the emerging blockchain technology, lead us to a promising new concept where energy flow (supply and demand) can be balanced inside a distribution chain called the microgrid. While the microgrid in itself is not a new concept, it is with the deployment of blockchain that provide a flexible, reliable, low-cost digital platform for processing, recording and settling transactions in real time across a localized and decentralized energy system.

Existing Pilot Projects

There are currently more than 40 pilot projects and these numbers are exponentially growing. Let’s explore three different microgrid pilot projects that are located geographically across the globe that focus on sustainability, self-sufficiency and smart energy management; T77, Brooklyn Microgrid and Jouliette.

T77

Location: Sukhumvit soi 77, Bangkok, Thailand

By: Sansiri, Power, BCPG

Established in August 2018

“A green sustainable living community with smart, eco-friendly, energy-efficient initiatives by incessantly exploring new environmental technology.”

“The solar rooftop technology being implemented means it brings cheaper electricity bills than from traditional sources, as clean energy produced from all generating units will help Sansiri residents make savings on their electricity bills of 15 percent per unit, “ -Uthai- Sansiris chief operating officer.

  • The project includes a shopping center, an international school, serviced apartments and a dental hospital.
  • They have estimated the results in carbon dioxide emissions being reduced by approximately 530 tonnes per year.
  • Sansiri is seeking to implement renewable energy initiatives in all its developments.

Brooklyn Microgrid

Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA

By: LO3 Energy, Siemens Digital Grid, next47

Established In April 2016

“The Brooklyn Microgrid reimagines the traditional energy grid model, with the concept of a communal energy network. While the utility provider still maintains the electrical grid that delivers power, the actual energy is generated, stored and traded locally by members of the community, for a more resilient and sustainable clean energy model.” — Brooklyn Microgrid Website.

  • The Brooklyn microgrid covers approximately 400 residencies and is aiming not just for a small-scale energy transition between the communities, but the project plans to install battery storage units within the grid in order to keep the lights on at least temporarily during storm-related emergencies.
  • In the grid all households include network control systems, switchgear, innovative battery solutions and smart electric meters.  

Jouliette

Location: De Ceuvel, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

By: Spectral & Metabolic in collaboration with Alliander

Established in September 2017

“In general society looks at big solutions when it comes to the transition towards a renewable energy system, like underground CO2 storage and big offshore wind farms. That makes the energy transition intangible, expensive and out of reach for many people. We want a cost-neutral acceleration in a renewable transition, and perhaps even one with a cost reduction. But then we need a decentralized model that facilitates greater local interaction and incentivizes direct peer-to-peer exchanges of renewable energy. We look forward to exploring how concepts like Jouliette can help lead the transition we need to see.”- Pallas Achterberg, Strategy Director Alliander.

  • Joulette project was aiming to become a landmark example in the 100% renewable energy sector and it has become a globally known showcase for sustainable urban development.
  • In the pilot site every building contains its own “Block box” which includes a heat pump, three smart meters to measure real time data from the PV system, and a computer that runs the blockchain software.
  • To achieve the most affordable, high performance and trouble-free usage; the hardware have been kept up to date since the initial installations.
  • Additional features, real-time power-flow map of the community, high-resolution data visualizations, and machine-learning forecasting systems which You can follow real-time energy transition from here
  • With Jouliette token within the community transactions can be made directly between the members own virtual currency ‘wallets’

What the future holds:

Like with any nascent and promising technology, it takes time to fully understand and utilize all the possibilities it offers. And as the term “pilot project” suggests, we are still very much in the early stages of the much-needed transformation of the energy industry, but we are taking steps in the right direction, one pilot project at a time.

Photo credit: Violetkaipa/ via Shutterstock

Graphic: Jose Luis Dominguez-Garzia/ via Incite-itn

Photo credit: Khomdet/ via Medium

Molly Lempriere/ via Power-technology

Floor van Bovene, amsterdamsmartcity.com

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