The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a grant worth $1.05 million to organizations working to commercialize a blockchain-based energy transaction platform.

From energy management to energy exchange

The news comes from an August 9 press release shared by energy company ComEd, one of the grant’s four reported recipient organizations. The others are the University of Denver, Virginia Tech and BEM Controls, a company specializing in energy management software. 

The new project is reportedly a continuation of BEM Controls’ existing DOE-funded work on software to enhance energy efficiency in buildings. This latest grant is to expand and promote a new blockchain-based energy marketplace, with ComEd to use its Grid of the Future Lab to demonstrate the new system’s functionality.

The new initiative is expected to be in development for three more years.

Blockchain for a new energy grid

According to Dr. Amin Khodaei, Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Denver:

“The growing proliferation of distributed energy resources calls for advanced management frameworks that support peer-to-peer communications while being fast, scalable and secure […] Now is the time to develop and demonstrate the technologies that can make a more sustainable and resilient future possible.”

Per the press release, BEM Controls cited security of a broad range of transactions as a primary reason for implementing blockchain in their platforms. 

The DOE has shown growing interest in using blockchain in energy grid applications. As previously reported, in January, the department announced $4.8 million in funding for tech research including blockchain for purposes like securing data from fossil power generation sensors.

In April, the DOE announced a partnership with Colorado-based security firm Taekion to deploy blockchain in power-plant security.