Global renewable energy sources show steady, but slow, growth rates. Often moving up by just a fraction of a percentage every year, renewables account for only 3% of worldwide energy consumption as of 2016. Oil and coal continue to supply most of our energy needs. But what if there were a better way?
Consumers Want Greater Control Of Their Power
There needs to be change in the way we think about our power sources. Currently:
- 85% of people would like to see their own countries phase out the use of coal
- In the US, 35% of CO2 emissions are from electric power generation
With options for solar panels, wind energy, and hybrid systems, lucky few homeowners do have the option, albeit an expensive one, to take control of their own power needs with the use of solar panels and other forms of renewable energy. But for most consumers, this cost-prohibitive option of becoming your own power plant isn’t very realistic.
More than one in four people believe that it’s individuals who should take the lead on energy issues. Though technology gives consumers more control and transparency in their energy consumption, the choice to tweak these options is often very low; utility companies still control the market. Regulated markets allow power companies to exercise a monopoly over energy generation, distribution, maintenance, and billing. Globally it is widely agreed that the world should be powered solely from renewable sources, but current economic structures prevent consumers from having a real choice in the matter.
- Corporations raise prices despite high profit margins
- Big utilities use their power to gain excess profit
- Free “certificates” are used to market coal and other environmentally harmful energy sources as green energy
Blockchain Can Give The Power Back To The People
An idea known as blockchain smart grid sets up the potential foundation for a consumer-based energy market. Operating as a similar function in regards to cryptocurrency, blockchain has shown surprising and innovative solutions for other industries as well. Capable of tracking and connecting networks of electricity generation, usage, and demands, this decentralized network will finally give consumers an option when it comes to their energy. No longer dependent on the industry standards of traditional power companies, energy waste, arbitrary pricing, and antiquated infrastructure become a thing of the past, as communities take control and responsibility for their energy needs.
- Computer modeling forecasts demand, increases efficiency, and lowers costs
- Peer-to-peer sharing, much like in cryptocurrency exchanges, lets consumers see where their energy is coming from in addition to giving them a choice of source where available
- Excess energy can be fed back into the grid in exchange for credits, and small producers like homeowners meet excess demand with low-cost energy
Creating innovative new ways to buy, sell, and use energy the blockchain smart grid can turn energy needs into a community-wide effort. Demand for renewables will grow once consumers can see the sources of their power, leading to compounding creation of larger supplies of solar and wind energy. Again, like its presence in the world of cryptocurrency, blockchain smart grid can operate like an energy stock exchange.
- Consumers can purchase energy at variable rates
- Cost based on the market itself rather than set by central agencies
- Consumers may choose the most cost effective source they wish
Imagine having the power over your own, well, power. As digital and energy technologies evolve, consumers will have this very power. Take a look at this infographic from Lition for more on the current state of our energy needs, how current structures are damaging the environment, what solutions are available, and what to expect for the future of renewable energy options on the blockchain.
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