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GE Wants to Build Virtual Power Plants Using Blockchain

GE is investigatingblockchainto potentially incorporate the technology into a virtual power plant offering, likely delivered via the company’s Predix platform. According to Steven Martin, GE Power’s chief digital officer; the move was in response to a general trend away from large central generating plants and toward distributed generation. GE has traditionally had limited exposure to this area.

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In October, GE Power Digital joined a study to evaluate the use of blockchain technology for energy industry applications.  The study, launched by the German energy agency (Deutsche Energie-Agentur or Dena), will investigate whether blockchain applications can be operated economically and reliably in energy industry use cases. Alongside GE, other organizations taking part in the study include Siemens and a range of European energy companies, such as Verbund of Austria, BKW of Switzerland and EnBW of Germany, as well as the German Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences.

With the move toward distributed, the types of plants that are of interest in different parts of the world seem to be changing, There’s interest in more medium-sized, more throttle-able plants. There’s also interest in front-ending those plants with energy storage.

– Steven Martin

Although GE is thought to be looking at various blockchain technology options for the project, the most obvious choice for the company will be a version of IBM’s Hyperledger framework, which has already been implemented on the Predix industrial internet platform. GE offers Predix as an on-premise or cloud-based system, but the software can also run on the edge of networks, a potentially useful feature for distributed energy applications.

 

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