London-based startup Electron says they want to convince the energy sector to take a good hard look at Blockchain technology to unlock commercialisation opportunities for future services they can run run on a decentralized infrastructure platform.
Taking a different, top down approach to their strategy than most Blockchain startups, Electron is aiming at the incumbent players in the market to drive innovation at the top – rather than angling at peer to peer localised energy trading using solar such as other Blockchain energy startups like LO3 Energy (Transactive Grid) in the USA and Powerledger in Australia – which allow for residents to trade renewable energy.
Techcrunch reports that Electron has built a demo platform on the Ethereum blockchain, and added simulated data from 53 million metering points and 60 energy suppliers as a dummy representation of the UK energy market — using that to run tests which it claims show such a platform would enable energy supplier switches to be executed up to 20x faster than current switching rates.
“The energy market is built on technology that mostly is around 25 or 35 years out of date. It’s been built up over a period of time — it’s a hodgepodge of different systems. And it tends to be driven more by regulators than for example the financial services industry is,” he says, arguing that blockchain in particular could provide “a lot of very helpful benefits for this industry”.
“The financial services industry is incredibly focused on this, in large part because of one of their core functions is acting as a custodian of record. [But] the energy industry don’t see that as one of their USPs… [Yet it’s also] a highly competitive, heavily regulated industry operating over a shared infrastructure.”
The London-based startup, which was founded at the end of 2015, has raised around £400,000 (~$500k) in pre-seed funding from private investors to date, as well as securing two Innovate UK grants (totaling £150k) to develop its technology.