Blockchain and P2P: two systems that could change the energy market


21 July 2020

What can blockchain technology offer to the energy sector?

According to a research named “blockchain opportunities for the P2P energy exchange”, carried out by the Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with EY, currently about 70%  energy produced cannot be destined for self-consumption.  Even if, in fact, the progressive diffusion of BESS systems (Battery Energy Storage System) will allow to increase  more and more the percentage of self-consumption, it will always be a fraction of energy that “should be transferred” (not only to the network, but also to the “neighbors” or to  residential complex, thanks to the european new rules introduced for Energy Communities.

As a distributed ledger of transactions, freely accessible and based on the mutual consent between the participants in the network itself, with the intensive use of encryption and digital signature, the blockchain is part of the innovative path taken by smart grids to encourage cutomers to buy electricity produced by prosumers at a lower price than the market one. At the same time prosumers will be able to sell energy at a better price than those purchased by grid, promoting the growth of prosumers and giving more value to the energy fed into the grid.

Blockchain technology is therefore opening up new services and features, revolutionizing traditional way of energy production and sale, changing the prosumers role. Currently they can just produce and consume energy, but not yet sell it. The current context, in fact, does not allow prosumers to sell the energy’ surplus (the difference between the produced and consumed energy) to the end consumers in their neighborhood, but they just  get a contribution (net metering) according to the amount of energy fed into the grid.

In Italy, when the ARERA authority will definitively fix the details to establish Energy Communities, predictably for autumn 2020, and when, in 2021, the European directive will be fully implemented, this potential will become reality.

The proposed solution consists of a marketplace, jointly managed by utilities and other actors, where prosumers can sell their energy to consumers, who will have the opportunity to generate their own electricity supply plan by selecting the supply mix between energy produced by utilities and / or energy produced by prosumers. The access to the marketplace could be allowed by an annual fee to remunerate the billing process for prosumers managed by the utilities. Through this mechanism, it would be possible to ensure operators an  increase in revenues, which would reduce the impact of lost revenues due to the loss of energy sold to prosumers.

Tera is also contributing to this innovation, which is crossing smart building and smart grid needs,  the so-called “p2p energy exchange” in micro-network environments. In this scenario an important role is played by Tera’s edge computers: they can run rutine and software tools implementing functions as “Blockchain” (better said BCDL, Block Chain Distributed Ledgers) to allow the “consumption certification” and, in general, the certification of economic and energetic transactions, triggered when functions related to the Energy Community are activated, as well as for grid flexibility services. Moreover, it’s very important in this context to be able to read the fiscal meter and do it in a simple way as Beeta Power does, offering players in the sector a significant advantage.

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