Business Models & Blockchains: Update from the TES Conference

The 4th International Transactive Energy Systems Conference just took place on June 13-15, 2017. Over 100 experts from the region, across the country and even overseas gathered in in Portland, Oregon to share in the progress, challenges and next steps for the future smart grid full of DERs and prosumers. Smart Grid Northwest helped produce the conference, working closely with GridWise Architecture Council.

The first morning focused on vendor solutions, and then turned to transactive energy (TE) systems in practice. The emerging general consensus is that the technology exists today, and the effort now is on the development of the business models and regulatory updates to make it feasible and economical. In particular, for TE to work, it has to provide value for all the participants in the market: energy providers, energy consumers, utilities and platform providers. Several presentations discussed how to break down and model the constituent costs of transactions for that purpose.

TES Opus One photo

Joshua Wong of Opus One at the TES 2017 Source: Smart Grid Northwest

The afternoon turned to a broader look at transactive energy systems in the context of smart cities. The city of San Diego talked about working with utilities to accelerate adoption and benefits of renewables and a representative working with Portland talked about expansion of smart mobility. Avista presented the Urbanova project, and how goals of these efforts need to be expressed in citizen needs, not system ROI alone. Black & Veatch explained how the smart grid is the first system to build in a smart city, while Itron and Echelon talked about how smart streetlights have become the “gateway drug” to other smart grid services, including TE. You can read more from the Smart Cities panel in this article by Linda Barney.

The second afternoon addressed blockchain directly, with a killer panel: Consensys and LO3 Energy talking about the Brooklyn Microgrid project, and Navigant explaining a spectrum of P2P applications possible with blockchain. Opus One Solutions asked, while there is almost universal interest in DERs and transactive energy, is the utility industry ready for a blockchain-based peer-peer market? You can dig into these viewpoints in this article by Smart Grid Northwest article, What Is Blockchain’s Role In Transactive Energy Systems?

LO3 presentation at TES 2017

Lawrence Orsini of LO3 Systems at TES 2017. Source: Smart Grid Northwest

We also had a chance to talk one-one with three leaders from HECO, EDF and Avista. Watch for an upcoming Smart Grid Northwest article on the view of transactive energy from utilities at the forefront.