U.S. Senate Hearing: Valuable Potential Applications of Blockchain Can Make Energy Markets More Efficient
The U.S. Senate hearing on energy and natural resources held in Washington DC focused on the application of blockchain and other similar technologies, as well as the cybersecurity possibilities of putting these technologies to use in the energy industry, according to an announcement on August 21.
In particular, the U.S. Senate Committee considered the issue of possible increase in energy prices following the rising demand for power in blockchain applications. It also touched on methods of evaluating whether the nascent technology can improve the security condition of the computing systems used to supply energy.
Thomas A. Golden, program manager at ERPI (Electric Power Research Institute), said that researches conducted on blockchain and its capabilities at ERPI led to pilots that showcased potential promise in deploying the technology to enable transactive energy.
The institute established a UBIG (Utility Blockchain Interest Group) consisting of 40 energy firms in order to increase awareness and provide more information about the technology. In addition, ERPI has launched the development of an energy market simulator using the tech.
Claire Henly, MD at Energy Web Foundation, said that blockchain can help increase transparency and efficiency in energy markets, while there are still some issues that need to be addressed before the tech can contribute to energy markets at scale.
Arvind Narayan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton University, argued:
“A blockchain-based market might be more attractive than a centralized trading platform if market participants are averse to a single company controlling the platform. Other initiatives enable customers to directly trade electricity with each other in a ‘peer to peer’ fashion, for example, by buying and selling excess rooftop solar power. However, peer-to-peer trading still requires the cooperation of utilities who ultimately control the physical flow of electricity.”
Speaking about cybersecurity, he said that blockchain tech can help tackle risks to the cybersecurity of energy systems, noting that policymakers should see it as one of the many possible technical tools for addressing the cybersecurity issue.