Blockchain, a green tool?

by bold-lichterman

FrenchWeb publishes the good sheets of Philippe Rodriguez’s new book (“The blockchain revolution”, Dunod, 2016). This book questions the transformations brought about by the blockchain, explains the mechanics of operation and the next evolutions.

As the candidates for the May 2017 presidential election detail their political platform, the issue of electoral promises in the environmental sector is on many lips. Will France continue to use nuclear energy or will it pass the renewable energies (ENR) course provided for in the Energy Transition Law of August 2015? What concrete measures will be taken to complete our country’s ecological and energy transition? In this French transformation, digital has its place and technology like blockchain can offer many opportunities for the development of our techniques and practices.

Smart grids, an ecological approach

In recent years, our companies have developed intelligent networks, that is to say, networks for the distribution of information or “augmented” natural resources, both autonomous in terms of flow management and optimized in terms of use of traded goods. In the energy sector, this optimization of the distribution of electricity, gas and even oil has encouraged the establishment of smart electricity grids (smart grids), coordinating the energy distribution network to improve its efficiency. Using energy better and less is therefore a possibility thanks to computer technologies.

In October 2016, in Lyon, the Bouygues group announced that it was continuing this development of smart electricity grids by mobilizing technology blockchain. With the support of tools for traceability of energy production and certification of its renewable origin, it thus proposes the establishment of a decentralized local network for the supervision of energy exchanges. In the Lyon Confluence eco-district, residents will therefore be able to use solar energy certified as “100% green”, for which they can even check the entire route from the solar panel to their electrical outlet from their phone or computer.

In the world of prosumers, a peer-to-peer exchange

Along with this optimization of energy consumption and distribution, the public authorities have initiated procedures to encourage the installation of solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric turbines directly in private homes. Perhaps you yourself have taken part in this effort undertaken for several five years by France and other countries. The idea is that, to a certain extent, each citizen becomes the producer of the energy consumed by his home in order to ensure his energy independence. Both producer and consumer (prosumers), the citizen is thus a full player in our country’s energy transition.

When it produces more energy than it consumes, citizens nevertheless have to resell this electricity to a national distributor. Thanks to the blockchain, he could directly exchange this energy with his neighbor, for hard and soft money. The American start-up TransActive Grid even proposes to develop micro-networks for the purchase and sale of renewable energy credits. In other words, you can directly participate in the financing of the installation of photovoltaic panels at your neighbor’s house and of a connection network at your home, in exchange for a share of electricity delivered monthly over a period determined by the height of your investment.

Towards a return to the local and solidarity economy

These approaches therefore both encourage behavior that is more respectful of the environment and create social ties with the inhabitants of their neighborhood. Faced with isolation and withdrawal into oneself, blockchain is a tool for socializing, which reminds us that society is a company in which we build our future together. This technology also shows us that, in a territory as large as France, respect for nature forces us to think locally, to act at the level of our street, our district, our municipality or our city. There is therefore a real approach to rethinking the city of tomorrow and human relations in the broad sense.

At the origin of bitcoin, this digital currency traded globally, the technology blockchain thus participated in the development of several complementary local currencies in France. Between the Stück in Strasbourg, the Eusko in the Basque Country and La Seine in Paris, whose entry into force is scheduled for autumn 2017, these currencies ensure the traceability of the journey of objects purchased or sold. They promote short circuits, good for local employment and for combating transport pollution. The utopia carried by these local currencies could well, tomorrow, become a reality and the digital, which was to allow us to exchange with people on the other side of the world, will have finally reconciled us with those who live a few steps from our doors.

the-revolution-blockchain

The Blockchain Revolution
Philippe Rodriguez
Dunod, 2016
224 pages

philippe-rodriguez

Philippe Rodriguez is the co-founder and managing partner of Avolta Partners, one of the most active investment banks in Europe for companies in new technologies. Philippe is also very present in the Blockchain ecosystem as a speaker and president of Bitcoin France. In digital ecosystem he co-founded the EBG of which he is the treasurer since 1998. Philippe is a graduate of ESCP and EISTI.

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