Full Title: Assessing Blockchain’s Future in Transactive Energy
Author(s): Ben Hertz-Shargel and David Livingston
Publisher(s): Atlantic Council Global Energy Center
Publication Date: September 19, 2019
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The global energy transition is fast evolving, and two trends in particular seem poised to converge. On the one hand, the rapid transition toward decarbonization and decentralization in the power sector is prompting exploration of new transactive electricity market models. Meanwhile, distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain are rapidly evolving beyond their initial financial applications to new use cases in sectors such as energy. Some surmise that blockchain could serve as an ideal platform for the transactive electricity market of the future, helping to ensure that diverse, often intermittent assets on the grid work together as a symphony, rather than a cacophony.
To explore the prospective role for blockchain as the platform for transactive energy models, authors Ben Hertz-Shargel and David Livingston produced a comprehensive report, Assessing Blockchain’s future in transactive energy, scrutinizing the benefits and costs that blockchain would bring to this particular application. They find that, at the time of analysis, six costs—scalability, efficiency, certainty, reversibility, privacy, and governance—collectively outweigh the benefits offered by blockchain as a comprehensive platform for transactive energy.
Their analysis further explores which obstacles are likely to be ameliorated as blockchain technology evolves, and which are more structural and obdurate. The report concludes with a set of policy recommendations for advancing progress toward transactive energy models, and lays out criteria for blockchain—or any other platform—to aspire to in order to enable a transactive energy future in the years ahead.