A ‘microgrid’ platform has been opened in Brooklyn to allow consumers to buy and sell electricity directly to each other in a secure peer-to-peer network. It was created by Transactive Grid (TAG) to allow the production and consumption of electricity to be in the hands of consumers. Of course, this means when operating within the microgrid system they will be not be entirely based on electricity from utilities.
Ethereum blockchain technology is the basis for the Brooklyn energy network, which monitors electricity outputs from solar and wind power. It also does the same for electricity from batteries – which could mean products like the Tesla Powerwall, or other new energy storage products.
The first network will be launched on President Street in Brooklyn, which runs into Prospect Park and then through Crown Heights on the other side. The Brooklyn Transactive grid is a joint venture between LO3 Energy and ConsenSys.
“This really is an exciting development in the way consumers can interact with energy, and we hope it will lead to a cleaner, greener society,” said Co-founder of TAG, Lawrence Orsini. This new technology is an important opportunity for consumers to participate in a new electricity marketplace, rather than having to rely exclusively on large or huge utilities, and pay their rates.
There are already homes in Brooklyn with their own solar power systems generating electricity, which can be consumed by the homeowners. If there is excess electricity, it can be input to the this microgrid, where other homeowners can buy it.
The ability to sell excess electricity directly to other consumers is important, because typically it has been sold back to utilities at rates that have not been determined by consumers. In other words, the net-metering rates are determined by bureaucracies which usually have connections to government agencies or departments and utilities.
Some utilities have been resistant to homeowners getting their own solar or wind power and battery systems, because they want to control electricity and the money associated with it.
We might think of solar or wind power as something that is better for the environment, but it can also be better for people because clean energy doesn’t produce the harmful air pollution that fossil fuels do.
The use of a microgrid platform in a neighborhood is fascinating – they have been used effectively on islands as well.