UK’s Ofgem, which regulates companies that run the gas and electricity networks, has begun a regulatory sandbox after a period of consultation that started in February this year.
The regulator announced they have entered into sandbox discussions with “a consortium led by EDF Energy and includes Electron, PassivSystems, Repowering London and University College London.”
The consortium is to trial a peer-to-peer local energy trading platform with the aim of allowing residents in urban areas to:
“Source their energy from local renewables and trade that energy with their neighbours, increasing self-consumption of low carbon energy and reducing overall energy costs,” according to an announcement.
We reached out to one of the consortium participants, Electron – which describes itself as a blockchain systems company for the energy sector – to learn more about the project, but a representative stated:
“Unfortunately we’re not speaking to the press at this moment in time. We would be happy to give you more information down the line once the project is more established.”
A number of energy companies have recently taken an interest in blockchain technology with Royal Dutch Shell and others launching an ethereum blockchain initiative in May.
Their aim was to integrate renewable energy into the grid system, using blockchain technology to integrate automation at the distribution edge with wholesale markets.
One of the biggest oil and gas producer, BP, has joined the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, while E.ON, EDF, RWE, Sweden’s State-Owned Vattenfall and Others, have begun blockchain energy trading trials.
There have been a lot more developments in this sector, including Netherlands national grid which has began piloting blockchain technology both in Netherlands and in Germany.
The entire energy industry, therefore, seems to be seriously exploring blockchain technology and how that can increase efficiency while reducing costs in energy trading and management.
Ofgem now seems to have taken steps towards aiding in that process, with the regulator being the first in the world to create a sandbox with the aim of facilitating innovation.