Yeah about that fracking…
TransActive Grid is a “smart” decentralized power grid (or microgrid) solution using blockchain technology. It allows for local homes with surplus power to sell their energy to other local homes via “smart meters” using Ethereum-based smart contracts. Basically, this creates a completely open and secure peer-2-peer network on the energy grid. The project is headed by LO3 Energy, a Brooklyn-based energy tech company. There will be a trade-able token associated with TransActive Grid as well, to represent the energy transactions on the grid.
I am really excited for new engineering solutions like this. Giving power to the people on their own power grids would be a huge leap forward for environmentalism as well as energy independence for people. Most people I know would rather be self-sustaining energy-wise. It could open so many doors for small communities. My city is coal-powered and our college is currently building another one to power itself. In Fairbanks, Alaska. Clean coal is a myth. Our state wants to build a natural gas line to the Arctic to remedy the fact we don’t have any money, which means hundreds of fracking wells. In the Arctic. Fracking isn’t exactly safe for the environment if you’re not familiar.
Most people do not have a choice whether they receive a power line from the coal or oil/gas plant. It’s usually that or receive no power at all. Most people don’t even seem to know there are other possibilities currently feasible out there, now cheaper in some cases like solar. Part of the problem as well is the complexity of energy grids. LO3’s blockchain solution would take care of the complexity part and be open to anybody for audit or participation, apparently without needing to change much infrastructure.
Another project that will potentially address issues like decentralized energy is IOTA, an honest blockchain machine economy project. They are working on smart hospital and smart energy projects with a number of partners in Europe. LO3 has a very serious team behind it, too, which hopefully will mean its success. This is all stuff to pay attention to, and perhaps go out and start yourself in your own communities if you’re looking for some serious economic opportunities. Like, please do. My country and state are desperate enough to frack the Arctic on the old system.
I once drove through a fracking field in the Sonora desert just south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. There were hundreds of flames from excess fracked gas being burned off. I could see them all the way to the horizon in all directions. My eyes and ears stung from the fumes it was so intense for me, especially being used to clean mountain air. I walked into a gas station (the gas station fumes were an improvement) in the middle of it only to find people cheering on Trump as he babbled away on FOX News, early in the last presidential race.
“That’s going to be our next president,” one man said as he clapped loudly – a pack of Budweiser under one arm. He gained a rapport from the others in the station, many obese and hardened-looking southern-folk. I scoffed silently at the whole scene, as if the whole place was just a fleeting reminder of a dead era of anti-intellectual populism, callous ecocide, and the deterioration of mental and physical health in environmental sacrifice zones. I was wrong, it’s still spreading, and my home state of Alaska has these same problems. I hope you all take a good hard look around yourselves.
Check out this piece on Thom Hartmann with the Zeitgeist Movement‘s Peter Joseph:
// Written and edited June 27, ’17.