Siemens targets blockchain for answer to solar problems

23 Nov 2016230 Shares

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Siemens is teaming up with solar energy start-up LO3 Energy to build blockchain protocols into the renewable energy management world.

Blockchain’s suitability to somewhat transparent management of systems has attracted tech giant Siemens to New York-based start-up LO3 Energy, just in time for a booming renewables market to really explode.

Building a microgrid in Brooklyn, LO3’s already underway project will now aim to enable local energy trading based on blockchain technology, as well as balance out local production and consumption.

Blockchain

Last month, Julia Hamm, CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance, told Siliconrepublic.com about the growing impact that renewables, and solar power in general, are having on the US power grid.

Renewable energy production is growing at around 30pc every year in the US. Solar farms are growing, public interest is growing and traditional energy production is being phased out.

“Historically, the bridge between traditional electricity and new solar electricity has been a wide one,” she said. “As we see higher and higher penetration of solar, we need to think more holistically. We need to integrate it into the system.”

Interest has reached such a level that Google has already created a tool, Project Sunroof, informing the public of their personal suitability towards solar panels on their homes.

Integration is clearly underway, with Siemens adamant that the “constant evolution” of the industry, and the need to enable “secure, stable and reliable” processes between decentralised energy systems, is key.

“We’re convinced that our microgrid control and automation solutions, in combination with the blockchain technology of our partner LO3 Energy, will provide additional value for our customers,” said Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens’ energy management division.

Lawrence Orsini, founder of LO3 Energy said: “In the world of finance, blockchain technology is rapidly advancing across many sectors, but in the energy market, things are comparatively different. With our microgrid solution in Brooklyn, we’ll demonstrate just the beginning of what blockchain can do in the transactive energy world.”

Interestingly in Germany, a system is already in place allowing those that generate their own solar power to sell their excess on to neighbours.

LichtBlick claims its SchwarmDirigent service can undercut primary energy providers, turning every home with solar panels into a little energy business.

The relationship between Siemens and LO3 is already well established, following the former’s creation of a €1bn super-fund for start-ups called Next47.

Next47 was created following the decision by Siemens last December to increase the company’s overall investment in R&D by €300m to a total of €4.8bn, including putting €100m towards employee ideas.

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com