Blockchain Technology – a Threat to Distribution Network Operators? 

Are distribution network operators in Europe threatened by a potential application of blockchain technology in the energy sector? This seems to be the pressing question that was at least partially the motivation for a recent report on blockchain in the energy sector by eurelectric, which is the European association of the distribution grid operators. From our perspective, this report reads like an attempt by the industry to reassure itself that its core business model – asset ownership and operation of the electricity networks – is not threatened by blockchain. While this might be true for asset ownership, this is different in the case of network operation.

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European utilities focus on regulated business models – a good strategy?

The sudden decision that Peter Terium, the CEO of Innogy, will leave the company points at an ongoing struggle in the utility sector: The shift to regulated business models that are combined with retail businesses requires high capital investments and increases the vulnerability of the company against increasing competition and dropping margins in the retail sector. How will utilities adapt to this challenge? Will they make use of digitalization to increase their earnings from retail business? We discuss data from the IEA and results of a recent survey among European retailers to find some answers to these questions. 

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Blockchain in the energy sector: Institutional disruption?

Blockchain is driving a lot of discussions in the energy sector lately. Let us suppose that the blockchain technology can overcome its current challenges and unlock its potential in the energy sector: Which institutional implications could we expect in a scenario where the blockchain becomes a standard tool in the energy sector? What happens with retail or network operation? How about regulation? These are the questions we try to address in this post. 

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