Blockchain platform to assist £19m virtual energy marketplace in Cornwall

Energy solutions firm Centrica has launched new trials to examine how blockchain technology can assist with multi-party peer-to-peer energy trading for 200 businesses and residential participants in Cornwall.

Centrica will utilise blockchain technology as part of a £19m Local Energy Market (LEM) programme in Cornwall that creates a testing ground for an array of disruptive energy innovations, including flexible demand, renewable generation and storage across both the domestic and business sectors.

The blockchain technology will act as a digital ledger to create a verifiable audit trail that will record peer-to-peer energy transactions in the LEM. The blockchain platform will give companies the chance to place energy orders that can generate the best economic value, unlike traditional fixed-price contracts.

Centrica’s chief executive Mark Hanafin said: “The proliferation of digital technologies is having a significant impact on the energy industry, allowing us to find new and better ways of delivering energy and services to our customers.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to test blockchain technology beyond the theoretical and put it into practice, developing innovative new solutions that will empower consumers in the UK, North America and beyond to take control of how they engage with energy.”

The LEM has been established by Centrica Business Solutions and blockchain technology will be added and overseen by LO3 Energy, a firm that specialises in the technology. Centrica invested in LO3 Energy back in 2017 as part of a £100m innovation accelerator and will work with the blockchain on business-focused trials in North America.

Chain of events

Blockchain is beginning to disrupt the energy sector, with utility firms utilising community platforms to test the technology’s potential. Earlier this month, a London-based firm conducted the UK’s first physical blockchain energy trade, which has enabled housing estate residents to benefit from renewable energy sources.

PwC were among a number of companies edie spoke to in order to find out what blockchain could do for business sustainability across numerous applications including energy procurement, supply chain traceability and revenue opportunities.

Outside of the energy sector, blockchain is being used by the likes of Nestlé, Unilever and Walmart to improve traceability in global food supply chains, while a blockchain start-up recently launched a new initiative to support global projects that tackle plastic pollution.

edie’s Powering Performance webinar

edie is partnering with Centrica Business Solutions on an hour-long webinar exploring how businesses are leading in onsite energy generation – from renewables to CHP, ground-source heat pumps to anaerobic digestion – to lower emissions and save on costs.

Using real-experience case studies, this hour-long session will hear from Carlsberg and the National Trust on how they’ve embedded onsite technologies to disrupt their own energy consumption.

Register for the webinar here.

Matt Mace

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