Would you pay slightly more for your electricity if you knew it was sourced from photovoltaic panels on your neighbor’s roof? Or, if you are that neighbor, would you use your solar power to charge a battery and dump that energy back onto the grid at peak hours, when the price was highest? The answers to these questions—which depend on how people would behave in an open energy market—are unknown, because that market does not exist.
But that may be changing. And we may have the blockchain to thank. Multiple projects are now under way to use technology that was originally intended to account for transactions in digital currency to track electricity production and put it up for sale.