A lot of news focuses on the energy consumption of Proof of Work blockchain mining. While it is an easy narrative, it ignores more energy efficient Proof of Stake systems that are being increasingly deployed. It is also important to look beyond the energy it consumes to how the technology can be applied to make systems more energy efficient. There are a number of companies currently working to apply blockchain technology to renewable energy and smart grid infrastructure and I look forward to the narrative shifting to the positive as more join.
In a transition to a decarbonized future, we have lots of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to deal with. These could be wind or solar generators, but they could also be battery storage, hydrogen fuel cells, smart appliances or electric vehicles. . . .Balancing all the loads from different inputs and outputs is much more difficult in a distributed system and requires a lot of AI, data analytics and some sort of transparent, accessible, trusted and un-manipulable accounting system. You might have come across something of this nature. Spoiler: These are blockchain and tokenomics.