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LO3 Energy and eMotorWerks Join Forces for Energy Blockchain Trial
Late in 2018, transactive energy startup LO3 Energy and Enel X subsidiary eMotorWerks announced a groundbreaking collaboration that seeks to bring owners of EVs and residential solar systems together in a peer-to-peer trading and grid balancing marketplace. Both companies are relatively well known in the energy blockchain world. Their new partnership is newsworthy for a few reasons.
A First Stab at Interoperability
LO3 Energy’s Exergy platform was designed to support energy trading between participants in a virtual microgrid in Brooklyn, New York, and later expanded to similar pilot projects around the world. eMotorWerks targeted the mobility space with its JuiceNet platform and Share&Charge app. Share&Charge created a blockchain-based marketplace that allowed residential and small owners of EV charging points to sell power to EV owners through a mobile app.
The new partnership between the two companies attempts to bring these two platforms together, creating a marketplace for a shared pool of customers. Though few details are publicly available at this time, the vision for the joint venture will involve trading electricity between residential customers with solar panels on their roofs and EV owners who need to charge their vehicles. Transactions will be made using tokens, likely through an exchange that allows native tokens from each platform to be converted back and forth.
This will create a sort of closed economy where services (in this case, behind the meter electricity production and provision of EV charging) provided by participants in the network can be valued and redeemed for other services using a common medium of exchange. If successful, the new pilot will mark the first successful attempt at true interoperability between blockchain-based platforms in the energy sector—which will hopefully become more and more common in the coming years.
Multi-Service Platforms Are the Way Forward for Energy Blockchain
As I have written before, the future of energy blockchain is still uncertain—with more than 200 companies and dozens of blockchain architectures under development, there is a real risk of a future characterized by dozens of incompatible platforms and a fragmented customer base.
Blockchain’s potential as a transformative technology in energy lies in its ability to create a common platform for diverse energy services. If I can tokenize and sell the power generated by solar panels on my roof, I have a new revenue stream. But if I can take that same token and use it to charge my EV, or pay my utility bill, or even by a new thermostat—that is a completely different customer experience.