In a recent publication of the World Economic Forum (WEF, an international organisation for public-private cooperation), the Blockchain is presented as a solution to balance electricity supply and demand on the African continent. An approach that could serve the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) objective: universal access to electricity by 2025.
African countries have placed renewable energies at the centre of their development policies, giving them more or less significant margins in their energy mixes. These countries are supported by international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, and especially the African Development Bank (AfDB), which are mobilising capital to harness the continent’s wind and solar potential and ensure universal electricity coverage in Africa, through the production of at least 160 gigawatts (GW) by 2025.
Although the actions and objectives launched across the continent are commendable, World Economic Forum (WEF) experts believe that the penetration of green energy into the African market is low and that, so far, the success of electrification plans has focused on the number of connections made and megawatts installed, rather than on the final use of the energy produced.
The energy supplied must meet a demand that increases productivity
According to WEF experts, to establish a balance between decentralised renewable energy production and the critical needs of populations, it is necessary to use Blockchain. It is a technology that appeared in 2008 and that allows information to be stored and transmitted in a transparent and secure manner, without the intervention of a central control body. Here, transactions are carried out directly on a peer-to-peer basis, between users of a network, whose data are scattered in decentralised blocks, which secures the system and renders central control ineffective.
Innovation would accelerate access to energy through decentralisation more oriented towards demand and distribution management, using connectivity and data. In concrete terms, people would have the opportunity to choose their preferred energy source locally. For example, by using a mobile application, residents with photovoltaic solar panels on their roofs, connected to the microgrid, could sell their excess energy production to residents who do not have them. Secure trading is then made possible by the Blockchain. This allows small energy consumers to have access to electricity and financial inclusion.
In addition, the Blockchain would inspire the rapid adoption of a decentralised energy system. Not only would this increase the economic productivity of small energy consumers, but new ways of using energy would eventually emerge.