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Not just for techies: Blockchain - more power for cities or for big utilities?

By David Donnerer on 7 March 2018

You remember having heard about bitcoin, right? It is this virtual currency which has stirred up financial markets and is rapidly conquering the energy sector. And blockchain is the technology behind Bit what? Block what? We don’t want you to remain puzzled about how this will impact local energy.

Energy blockchain experiments and pilots are multiplying, driven by tech-savvy entrepreneurs. It looks like the new technology is disrupting the energy system from Spain to the US. And what is in it for cities? Energy Cities makes sense of the blockchain buzz with a new exploratory study, to be released at our next annual conference in April in Rennes!

The Blockchain France defines blockchain as a transparent, secure technology used for storing and transmitting data which does not require a central controlling system. By extension, a blockchain is a database that contains records of all the transactions that have been made by users since its creation. This transaction ledger is secure and distributed: it is shared by all users, with no intermediaries, which means everyone can verify the validity of the chain. Instead of being stored on a central server, this ledger is distributed across many computers in a peer-to-peer network.

Can this disruptive technology support cities in tackling the radical changes (e.g. decentralization, new storage technologies, advent of Artificial Intelligence) in the energy system? In our new exploratory study “Blockchain and Energy Transition – What challenges for cities?”, co-funded by the French national energy agency ADEME, we decipher the potential role of blockchain in the local energy transition. How does it work and what does it impact concretely? How can it be applied in local energy systems? What are the opportunities and threats associated with this new technology that local governments should know about? Can it strengthen cities’ role in the energy market or will it entrench the reign of the dinosaur utilities? These questions are explored in this study, and a comprehensive overview of ongoing relevant blockchain energy projects for cities is given.

Alongside the dissemination of our new blockchain study at our annual conference in Rennes, a plenary session will be held on the 20th of April from 9-10 am to present and debate the study with blockchain pioneers from France, Germany and Spain in the energy sector.
Check out the speaker lineup here:

  • Rieul Techer, co-initiator of DAISEE (France): implementing a decentralized energy system in the small French commune of Prats-de-Mollo (Pyrénées orientales)
  • Thais Drozdowski, I-nuk (France): blockchain as a tool to compensate carbon emissions
  • Soeren Hoegel, director strategic development, Stadtwerke Wuppertal (Germany): the online platform Tal.Markt, which creates an online market place for local renewables in the Wuppertal region
  • Markos Romanos, COO, Pylon Network (Spain) : using blockchain to empower energy cooperatives

Register for the Rennes event to secure a seat at the Blockchain session

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