TransActiv Grid, smart energy made in Brooklyn

After Solshare in Bengladesh, let’s take a look at Brooklyn, where a company uses nanogrids to support a peer-to-peer sustainable energy network.

Photo : http://brooklynmicrogrid.com/

TransActivGrid is a live experimentation that has already become quite famous around the globe. Since its beginning in 2012 with the creation of Brooklyn MicroGrid, it allows members to produce locally and sell their energy to each other using a smartgrid. The goals are pretty simple: reduce extra costs of distribution and transportation, energy wastes and reinvent the sense of sharing in a local community.

Peer-to-peer energy

The BMG platform uses BlockChain technology to store energy and exchange consumption data; a very accurate process for Brooklyn, implementing a win-win process:

  • Users become independent energy producers
  • Consumers become prosumers : caring about the provenance of their energy.

This project has caught the eye of New York state and some state services: facing climate change, power cuts and other incidents, this kind of initiative is exactly what people are asking for today. The New York Prize program could fund and take a part in the project very soon. TransActivGrid should also turn into a cooperative, owned by every and each subscriber in Brooklyn.

However, for now it’s only a small movement: could this initiative be sustainable in all the U.S. ?

What about the Data ?

Since its creation in 2011, TransActivGrid has been tested in 50 pilot houses. However, some important questions remain :

  • Is the business model pro consumer ? For now, the energy price depends on the market. How would it react to stress ? Could the prices increase in case of a crisis ?
  • How (and who) guarantees the data’s safety ? Every data is transmitted using BlockChain, but as for Qurrent in Netherlands, the data is an essential question. Should the service be centralized, but less flexible, or totally open ?

The way data will be handled will shape the service itself, TransActivGrid would be perfectly fitted to the rise of the prosumer movement, modeled by Jeremy Rifkin in his Zero Marginal Cost Society. In countries like Germany, The Netherland or the US, where the need for resilience and autonomy is strong, this could be a game changer. The full potential of the project will only be reached when questions about financement and data management will be solved

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Useful links :

https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/energy-and-efficiency/smart-grids-and-energy-storage-microgrid-in-brooklyn.html
http://brooklynmicrogrid.com
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-microgrid-grows-in-brooklyn/

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