Energy and blockchain, the debate continues at CIRED

Published on Thursday, 22 June 2017

Not just networks and smart grids. In Glasgow, Scotland, at the biennial convention CIRED, the leading international forum dedicated to the companies and technology in the sector of electricity distribution networks, Enel wanted, once again, to promote the debate on blockchain technology and its possible applications in the energy sector.

Our company, through the collaboration between CIRED and the business line Infrastructure and Networks, contributed to the rich programme of the forum, promoting the discussion on innovative themes, both concerning the network infrastructure and brand new themes for the event, such as blockchain.

At CIRED 2017, Diego Dal Canto, from the Innovation unit at Enel, was coordinator of a round table discussion, promoted by our company on the topic “Blockchain: which use cases in the energy industry”. The discussion included the development potential of this innovative technology, which is the basis for crypto-currencies and is considered by many to be the most disruptive technological development in recent years.

“The aim of the meeting,” explained Dal Canto, “ was to further the debate already launched by Enel in recent months, to develop a considered reflection about a technology currently in the spotlight but for which the real potential of its application in industry and the energy sector in particular, is yet to be ascertained.”

The round table discussion at CIRED reached similar conclusions. “Everybody recognises that the topic is a fascinating one and needs to be examined in greater depth but at the moment, cases of uses in which blockchain is the best solution, at least in the energy sector, have yet to be described.”

Participating in the discussion were representatives from diverse utilities including Centrica, Verbund and the British startup Electron. Enel underlined the importance of cooperation between utilities using the Open Innovation approach, developed also thanks to independent platforms such as that offered by Eurelectric. Furthermore, a pragmatic approach must be encouraged to identify applications for the technology that are genuinely useful for utilities, such as the Enerchain project that involves the collaboration together with Enel of the leading European traders with the objective of innovating the energy market by making it more flexible and accessible.