Experts Recommend Blockchain for Emerging GCC Renewable Energy Infrastructure

March 23, 2019

As a political and economic union comprising six Arab States in the Persian Gulf region, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is reported to be seeking to install 80 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity across all of its member states by 2030, accounting for more than half of the union’s current conventional capacity.

U.S.-based tech consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton has made the case that blockchain technology can provide a more secure, resilient and cost-efficient infrastructure for renewable energy markets throughout the GCC region. Additionally, the firm cited blockchain as the most effective technology for addressing future technical, governing and institutional challenges.

As noted by Dr. Adham Sleiman, Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton Middle East and North Africa, the renewable energy sector is especially well-suited for blockchain, as the system is transactional for electricity and fares, while relying on a central authority in the form of utility operators.

According to Sleiman, the rising popularity of distributed energy resources (DER) is coinciding with shifts towards greater decentralization, where utilities “no longer fully control the system.” He added that such utilities must now expand their scope beyond energy delivery, as blockchain applications can help facilitate peer-to-peer energy trading, track renewable energy and articulate smart contracts.

The vice president has continuously made the case for the potential of transactional energy concepts that would be suited to blockchain solutions, describing the technology as “a major disruptive change” that the energy sector could be faced with over the next decade.

According to Rafael Mateo, senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Dubai office, blockchain and smart contract solutions have already been piloted by both the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

Taking into account the entire energy sector, Mateo cited the implementation of tracking tools, such as renewable energy certificates that track energy flows, as key precursors to fully realized decentralization and automation.

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