CleanTech Innovation Showcase Presenting Company Recap: LO3
By Ray Adler
CleanTech Alliance Contributor
Transmitting energy from power plants to far away consumers is inefficient. Instead of trying to improve these inefficiencies, LO3 Energy is developing and distributing grid solutions that keep energy local. Kerstin Rock, Director of Strategy, spoke about how LO3 is using blockchain technology to create local marketplaces in which users can choose the cost of their energy, where it comes from and how their energy is produced (i.e. solar). The company presented at the 2017 CleanTech Innovation Showcase.
LO3 is currently demonstrating the technology in Gowanus and Park Slope, two neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with their pilot project Brooklyn Microgrid (BMG). With BMG, neighbors who are solar energy producers can set a price and sell their excess solar energy to neighbors who want to buy locally produced solar power.
The system relies on a BMG’s network of TransActive Grid (TAG) meters that host a local blockchain. When a solar energy producer is generating excess energy, their TAG meter securely communicates the cost (specified by the producer) and amount of energy produced to the blockchain in real time. A consumer sets the features of their TAG meter to securely purchase available solar energy when it is below a specified price, which allows for local, peer-to-peer energy exchange. Because the energy is bought and sold locally, it keeps money in the community. LO3 is not looking to compete with utilities and is instead working with them to create microgrids. BMG currently has 40 participants and operates on one city block.
In addition to creating peer-to-peer energy markets, Rock says the blockchain technology can be used in systems to facilitate local demand response and location based pricing.