Yesterday it was announced that U.S. energy utility Ameren plans to work with Opus One Solutions to build a clean energy infrastructure and trial blockchain. Ameren services 2.4 million electricity consumers and 900,000 natural gas customers.
In the past electricity utilities had one or two sources of energy like coal power stations and nuclear. For 2018 these two sources make up roughly 91.5% of the cost of Ameren Missouri’s energy sources. Today many jurisdictions require renewable energy to be part of the mix. In Missouri, renewable energy for 2018 was set at 10% of sales rising to 15% in 2021. So Ameren gets the rest from hydroelectricity, methane gas, solar and wind. However, today’s announcement applies to Ameren’s Illinois subsidiary.
Incorporating these diverse sources of electricity into the grid and compensating outside providers is a complex process and requires a marketplace.
“Identifying the value local distributed energy resources (DER) can provide to our distribution system and the customers it serves, helps inform how and where customers should invest in clean renewable power,” said Ron Pate, Senior Vice President of Operations and Technical Services with Ameren Illinois.
Opus One didn’t clarify how exactly blockchain will be used. Many current blockchain energy projects focus on a few areas. One involves microgrids such as the Brooklyn and Marubeni projects being implemented by LO3. Another is the ability to trace renewable sources because the electricity ultimately gets mixed in with conventional sources. This is often done through renewable energy certificate (REC) systems. For example, there are projects by Singapore SP Group, Spain’s Acciona and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.