On Wednesday 14 June, Osborne Clarke and Reply Group held a dinner on Blockchain in the energy sector.
We had a wide ranging and illuminating discussion exploring potential benefits and drawbacks of Tangle and blockchain, before we even got to consider the impact on the energy industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the youthful nature of the technology, there is no consensus today as to how the energy industry could be changed by blockchain but below are a few reflections on points made at last night’s discussion:
- Electricity and gas already have well developed and functioning data flow and payment systems. It is not clear what, if any, cost or efficiency savings would justify a move to a completely new (i.e. blockchain based) system. Opportunities in heat may appear faster due to the less centralised nature of the market.
- The interface between the data/electronic world of blockchain and the physical world of energy production, transmission/distribution and supply is likely to be a challenging one.
- New models and approaches may evolve which are completely unforeseen and driven by disruptors from outside the industry. However they are likely to face significant resistance to change from the industry and the regulatory system which underpins it.
When we look back in 10 or 15 years’ time, the energy industry is likely to look very different from how it does now and blockchain is likely to have a role in that, but how, where and when remains very much open.
Reply Group is an International Consulting, Intergration and Digital Services Company based across Europe that supports leading industries to use new technology, such as Blockchain, effectively and fosters the success of its customers by the introduction of innovation along the whole economic supply chain.
A copy of Osborne Clarke’s Blockchain report can be viewed here.