• 4 minutes Will We Ever See 100$+ OIL?
  • 8 minutes Iran downs US drone. No military response . . Just Destroy their economy. Can Senator Kerry be tried for aiding enemy ?
  • 11 minutes Energy Outlook for Renewables. Pie in the sky or real?
  • 49 mins Shale Oil will it self destruct?
  • 2 days NYT: Mass Immigration Roundups in U.S. to Start Sunday
  • 14 hours White House insider who predicted Iran False Flag, David Goldberg found dead in his New York apartment
  • 7 hours Migration From Eastern Europe Raises German Population To Record High
  • 8 hours Excellent Choice: Germany's Von der Leyen Secures Powerful EU Executive Top Job
  • 19 hours Germany exits coal: A model for Asia?
  • 1 day Carrot And Stick: North Korea Suggests It Might Lift Weapons Test moratorium
  • 11 mins Washington Post hit piece attacking oil, Christians and Trump
  • 1 day South Korea imports No Oil From Iran in June - First-Half Imports Fall 37%
  • 16 hours Starlink Internet Courtesy of Tesla
  • 19 hours A Silence is heard
  • 2 days U.S.- Taiwan: China Says Will Freeze Out U.S. Companies That Sell Arms To Taiwan
  • 1 day Trump vs. Xi Trade Battle, Running Commentary from Conservative Tree House
Alt Text

$200 Billion Saudi Solar Megaproject Might Never Happen

The $200-billion solar power project…

Alt Text

Solar Stocks Are Booming This Year

The solar industry is on…

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

More Info

Premium Content

What Bitcoin And Solar Have In Common

Bitcoins do not magically appear out of nowhere. Each one is “mined” in a blockchain process that eats enough electricity to power an American household for 1.57 days.

This process is what gives the coins their value. The work involved in the creation of the smart contracts gives cryptocurrencies the authority to be used to buy items – a privilege ordinarily left to governments and treasuries.

If bitcoins are the currency of the future, its miners must consume electricity that does not overthrow the global carbon budget. This revolution must be powered by renewables, and blockchain techniques themselves could provide the impetus for this level of control over energy flows.

“Imagine you’re growing a whole lot of tomatoes, but you can’t trade them over the fence with the neighbor for their zucchinis – you’ve got to go to the supermarket to sell to them and buy from them,” said David Martin, CEO of the Australian firm Power Ledger. “That’s the situation in energy markets now – we want to change that.”

Currently, private households that have solar panels on their roofs can sell back their excess energy to the local or regional grid that is most easily accessible to them. They earn back a low rate per kilowatt hour by selling to the utilities companies, but offering the extra power to other homes in a peer-to-peer network would generate higher returns. The process would incentivize the adoption of solar power and raise energy capacity at the same time.

To keep track of the trades, Martin says the platform would use a proof-of-stake algorithm, analogous to the proof-of-work formula at work in bitcoin mining operations.

Related: Will Oil Inventories Continue To Fall Over The Summer?

“Using the [modified] blockchain brings more transparency, including on data exchanged. It uses the fraction of energy of conventional blockchain. Proof-of-stake is ideally suited for energy,” Martin told the Guardian.

The system would use smart meter data and existing infrastructure to make the new energy market a competitive alternative to fossil fuel-based power, which tends to be limited by a physical production rate, rather than by computer power.

“Yes, I believe that proof-of-stake blockchain applications can validly compete with other non-blockchain based solutions in energy trading,” he says. “Peer-to-peer energy trading is nascent, notoriously difficult to manage and blockchain solutions might be useful.”

Innovations in the policy landscape will necessary to allow blockchain-based energy to thrive.

“The system was designed at a time when regulators didn’t contemplate distribution and storage, let alone customers trading among themselves – everything is set up for a system of generating power a long way away from a centralized source,” Martin said.

Currently Power Ledger’s experiment is limited to a 500-site test in Auckland, New Zealand, via a partnership with the island nation’s largest power provider. The blockchain’s scope is limited geographically so far, but a supportive legal and solar infrastructure could bring this new concept to the forefront of the grassroots energy trading landscape.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • TW on July 27 2017 said:
    Your article implies that mining costs enough electricity to power 1.57 homes for a day. It is not the mining process that costs 1.57 home days of electricity - it is the buy or sell transaction using Bitcoins. Mining Bitcoins costs a lot more energy than what is needed to power 1.57 homes for a day.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play