Energy companies may soon be obsolete

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is very concerned about the cost of energy. The UK is in the middle of a General Election and she has proposed a price cap.

It’s not an unfair concern and it has sparked a lot of debate - is it good for working families, is it economically illiterate, will she even keep her promise once elected?

Fortunately, perhaps, for everyone in the debate, these kinds of questions look like they will be completely irrelevant before too long. A mix of new technologies look set to completely change the way that energy is provided, who controls it, how we pay for it, and how much it will cost.

One example is of an experimental new kind of microgrid in Brooklyn in New York City.

LO3 Energy has developed a system for people to buy and sell solar energy, using the Ethereum blockchain, for transactions.

It’s a local network, still very small, but it’s self-organising, mitigates the impact of power outages, and better matches troughs and peaks in energy demand.

This blog regularly features many different ways in which solar, wind, hydrogen, and battery technology is improving. As these technologies improve, and as they become more cost effective, they will inevitably become more widely used.

This means seeing more decentralised electricity generation and storage. It means a considerably reduced reliance on traditional energy providers and their ability to dictate or manipulate energy costs.

At the very least it will force traditional energy providers to adapt.

In the case of RWE, one of Germany’s largest energy providers, they are embracing the future of electronic payment and renewable energy.

Innogy Innovation Hub, a subsidiary, has launched hundreds of electronic vehicle charging stations which are also connection to Ethereum.

Drivers can use an app, Share&Charge, on their smart phone to communicate with a charging station and Ethereum records, manages, and pays everything.

Carsten Stöcker, senior manager at Innogy Innovation Hub, sees a future which is very much more automated than it is today, including our cars.

Perhaps this just means the political grievances of tomorrow will just look different.

In the meantime it’s all very exciting! The internet of things, autonomous cars, renewable energy technology, the blockchain, etc. – bring it on!