Last week, a UK based start-up, Verv, saw the worlds first direct transfer of energy take place on the blockchain. In a test backed by the UK government within a housing estate in Hackney, artificial intelligence firm Verv have produced an energy trading platform that exists within the blockchain, designed to allow customers to exchange renewable energy, directly with their neighbours. The first ever direct energy trade on the blockchain took place last Wednesday and saw 1kWh of energy transferred from a set of solar panels from one building within the estate, to another within the same estate. According to edie.net, the CEO of Verv, Peter Davies said:
“We’re so pleased to be bringing the Verv renewable energy trading platform to life on Hackney’s Banister House Estate, we want to use this technology to empower the residents to innovate and create their own trading community.”The platform uses Powervault Batteries which are set up within communal areas on the estate. Blockchain technology and AI are used to determine the power demand for each home on the network and thus can then use the batteries to allocate stored energy to the homes. The power is initially generated by solar panels situated on the estate. This, can provide a much cheaper power supply to the estate. The technology used to allocate the correct amount of power is ground-breaking and offers a cheaper alternative to energy bills for those who consciously use less power. Moreover, as the power comes from a renewable energy source it is free from the tariffs of privatised energy firms. Since the success of the trade, Verv have received additional funding which will be used to trial further roll outs of this system across the UK. This is a really cool application of blockchain technology. Not only is it a solution for providing green power to communities, it also bypasses the need to rely on expensive energy firms for the bulk of a community’s power. Here, blockchain technology is able to skip the middle man and provide regulation for power, giving those who need more power a bit extra (at a cost of course) and limiting the supply to those who need it less. Once again, blockchain technology is proving itself to not just be the home of cryptocurrency, but to be an incredible discovery with endless real-world possibilities.