One area in which blockchain technology is showing serious potential is the energy sector. And there’s an interesting reason for that. We all know that climate change is a serious issue (well, most of us do). Yet when it comes to hitting our carbon emission reduction targets, we’re way off base.
Despite hearing sad stories of polar bears drowning in melting ice and natural disasters ravaging developing countries, we return to daily life without so much as blinking.
It’s not that we don’t care about the rest of the world. We just have our own problems to tackle, like paying bills and feeding our kids. Renewable energy is a nice idea, but the problem is that it’s expensive. Should we accede to fitting solar panels on our roofs, the investment is considerable and compensation for our efforts minimal – beyond the satisfaction of helping save the planet, of course.
But feeling bad about arctic marine mammals and people in storm-ravaged countries isn’t enough to make most of us take action. The only way to incentivize humans to get on board with renewable energy is to show how it benefits their wallets – as well as the rest of the world.
Why is Blockchain Tech Key to the Future of Renewable Energy?
Beyond the unsightliness of giant wind turbines and clunky solar panels, there are greater problems that exist with the current centralized structure of energy. Namely, it is highly inefficient, causes delays in project launches, and pushes prices up all around.
David Miller, Project Development Lead at ImpactPPA, explains, “Using the blockchain and smart contracts opens the bottleneck created by the large, centralized NGOs and government agencies that have traditionally controlled energy financing. ImpactPPA can dramatically cut the time from proposal to product implementation, achieving results in months instead of years.”
Assaf Ben-Or, Co-Founder and CEO of Greeneum, enthuses, “Blockchain is important to the future of renewable energy because it helps energy producers and consumers realize meaningful, cost-saving efficiencies, while also enabling ordinary and institutional investors to help fund the build-out of renewable energy grids by removing the many obstacles currently standing in their way.”
Bringing Energy to Those Who Need it Most
Both ImpactPPA and Greeneum are blockchain-based, incentivized green energy project marketplaces and power management platforms. Their approach is to decentralize the financing of energy projects and allow electricity to be administered faster and where it’s needed most – while bringing rewards to those who invest.
Says Ben-Or, “People in developing nations are able to take advantage of Greeneum-funded projects by simply accessing the electricity generated by the new renewable grids built in their community. In many cases, this is the first consistent access to electricity they will have ever had.”
No longer will entire populations have to wait for government agencies or committees to assess the economic viability of an energy plan. With blockchain tech, individual investors in the token marketplace can have a say in when and where energy is delivered. “We are removing trust as a factor and eliminating the many intermediaries that currently make funding these efforts near-impossible for all but the most qualified investors,” he continues.
Any Barriers to Overcome?
If blockchain technology were easy to integrate, the world would be a different place by now. Its adoption is not without its challenges. Says Miller, “With anything new and complex, there will always be challenges. Most of the challenges with blockchain adoption have a root cause in a lack of awareness or a lack of understanding about it.”
Ben-Or concurs, “The challenges to using blockchain tech are the same as with any other new innovation: low adoption rates, lack of broad knowledge in how it works, and a need to build everything from scratch. That said, we see these more as opportunities, rather than hurdles.”
The refreshing thing that separates energy blockchain companies from the myriad of startups holding ICOs to enrich their founders is that green energy really does tackle real-world problems – bringing power to places that have been off the grid and helping to reduce poverty around the world. Says Ben-Or, “Unlocking the trillions of dollars held by everyday individuals around the world will help raise the standard of living for millions of people currently in the dark.”