Blockchain for Utilities – Disintermediation as a Double-Edged Sword
- Sep 24, 2019 7:16 pm GMT
This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-09 - Blockchain in Utilities, click here for more
Blockchain – the distributed ledger, smart contract technology – is positioned to either assist, modify, or further undermine the traditional utility business model. Depending on how blockchain and associated utility technologies (meters, wires, IoT devices, solar panels, microgrids, communication protocols) are structured and implemented, blockchain systems can act as either a benefit or a detriment to the utility bottom line.
In one scenario, a blockchain-based microgrid project establishes itself built on an isolated, standalone hardware and software architecture. This configuration is entirely separate from the existing grid operator. All electricity and payment transactions are achieved internally between blockchain-connected microgrid participants. In this case, the utility has been “disintermediated” from the island microgrid and its peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading system. That is, the utility has been completely removed as the energy and payment middleman. In this scenario, the utility gains no financial benefit. On the other hand, in a tradeoff, nor does the utility have to maintain and support that island infrastructure.
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