There is a real potential for the Irish renewables industry to gain a competitive edge by embracing new processes and systems enabled by emerging blockchain technology

Project Insights

  • €409,000

    Total Project Costs
  • 4 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2018

    Year Funded

Project Description

This project will examine how blockchain technologies can facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into Ireland's electricity system. Prediction markets are proposed to give renewable generators and system operators enhanced foresight of future power output levels and other relevant variables. Prediction markets are known to be best information aggregation mechanism for uncertain events in other business contexts, so their deployment to aid renewables integration seems timely. Additionally, nascent blockchain hosted predictions markets are flexible and transparent enough to permit this topic to be researched empirically. Beyond predicting uncertainties, this project will also articulate how blockchains can be used to hedge against volatility. Modern blockchains have introduced flexible functionality, known as smart contracts, which trustlessly and autonomously control cryptographic assets according to rules of arbitrary complexity. For instance, this allows two parties to commit money to an escrow facility embedded in a smart contract, which will only release the funds when some pre-agreed condition is met. There is an untapped potential for new smart contract instruments to allow frictionless and dynamic hedging of electricity price and resource risks for renewable generators. Tokenised, peer-to-peer electricity trading schemes will be explored, to allow renewable generators to meaningfully differentiate their offerings, to foster organic price-responsive load shifting and to tangibly engage citizens in renewable projects. Blockchain technologies are well-suited in this role as they allow the tokenization of specific, metered units of electric energy from identifiable generators, and these tokens can be used by consumers to credit special blockchain meters.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €409,000

Funding Agency: SEAI

Year Funded: 2018

Lead Organisation: University College Dublin

Collaborators: Economic and Social Research Institute; UCD Quinn School of Business;

Paul Cuffe

Lead Researcher

Expertise: Electric Power Systems; Blockchain; Renewable Energy; Data Visualisation; Optimization;