US start-up LO3 Energy will soon announce its first commercial community-based energy projects in Europe and the US.
LO3 Energy’s innovative technology is a blockchain-based platform that creates local networks of distributed renewable energy resources where people can buy and sell energy with one another. It is a form of peer-to-peer trading, but at the moment the regulatory structure in the countries in which the company operates, people can only trade with mutual customers of their own energy supplier.
Community energy and self-consumption is being promoted at the EU level but has just begun to trickle down into country-specific legislation, Scott Kessler says. “As the EU figures out how to adopt this it will be interesting to find out how it works in practice,” he says.
The company has active pilot projects in the UK and Denmark, and two that have already been completed in Germany.
An interesting finding from the pilots has been that getting access to data and, when necessary deploying hardware, has been more of a challenge than the blockchain technology itself, Kessler tells Engerati.
The transactive energy platform was pioneered with the Brooklyn Microgrid.
The company recently announced it had secured investment from Shell and Japanese heavyweight Sumitomo Corporation.
“The investment from Shell and Sumitomo represents a landmark moment for LO3 Energy as we begin to scale our blockchain-based energy networks around the world,” says LO3 Energy CEO Lawrence Orsini. LO3 already has investment from Braemar Energy Ventures, Centrica, and Siemens.
Kirk Coburn, investment director for Shell Ventures, said: “As we move into a less carbonized future, Shell aims to invest in innovative companies that will help enable the energy transition. LO3 Energy fits right in that space.”
Shell’s ambition is to become the world’s biggest power company within the next 15 years, Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell’s integrated gas and new energies unit, says. Shell acquired First Utility last year and rebranded it to Shell Energy Retail in March of this year.