The energy industry is slow to adapt and climate changing it will undoubtedly be the biggest battle of our generation. However, several energy giants like Shell and BP are jumping onto a platform which could radically transform the entire industry.
Reluctance to adapt in the naturally monopolistic energy trade has long since led to a public perception that leaves a lot to be desired. The fact that unrenewable fossil fuels are still by far the largest source of energy in the world comes down to the fact that giant firms are making an exorbitant amount of money. Yet, the energy giants have taken a huge leap forward by partnering on a new blockchain-based trading platform.
The adoption of Blockchain platforms can provide full transparency to everything from logistics to financial reports to consumption and measuring carbon emissions. For an explanation of how that can be done, read a previous article of mine, Manufacturing trust: How Blockchain will change the world.
Corporate corruption in the energy industry will become a thing of the past, as a cryptographic distributed ledger would expose discrepancies and the logistical history of any exchange with consumers in a heartbeat without the need for an audit. In my home country of South Africa, for example, the state-run energy provider, ESKOM, is riddled with corruption and has led to power cuts or “load shedding” to the extent that power cuts are part of everyday life. The oil industry, on the other hand, is dominated by a few giants that essentially have the resources and power to severely disrupt any supply chain or governance by themselves. Eliminating this could lead to a widespread adoption of green, renewable energy by breaking down the barriers to entry in the market.
Accurately measuring carbon emissions is certainly possible with Blockchain technology and makes it a lot easier to impose sanctions on entities that exceed predetermined levels, which is essentially the only way we can reduce pollution. Getting states to agree to resolutions is another matter entirely, but conceptualizing a plan is better than nothing in a worst-case scenario.
With the Blockchain, you can keep track of everything including, most importantly, individual consumption. Consumers can adopt a cryptocurrency for electricity consumption and, should a home have enough private energy sources (like solar panels), consumers can feed surplus energy back into the grid to earn the cryptocurrency, like a Bitcoin miner does. It turns the electricity market into an open economy that incentivizes people to generate an unlimited supply of clean energy and you literally make a pure profit after an initial investment.
The idea of integrating the Blockchain into the energy industry will take a very long time to be adopted in its totality, but the possibilities are endless and we could even save the planet.