Holochain Forum

Draft: Renewable energy as a commons

Preliminary info for those coming here from social media and other places online that I may have linked to:

In this post I’ll attempt to explore how renewable energy farms might work as a commons. Note that I haven’t participated in any Commons Engine classes, and the Commons Engine website otherwise seems to have relatively limited info on how commons-based mutual credit, asset-backed, stable value cryptocurrencies may be designed.

Recommended background reading may include:

Think of the above design for Holo fuel being redesigned for renewable energy production, where the unit of productivity is in kWh of renewable energy. The intention is to provide a way to fund the creation of new renewable energy generation, that is, to increase the total available supply of it. However, it may not be necessary to have a separate app that does that. Rather, an app that allows adaptive electricity trading, which is planned to be developed by Redgrid, could also allow extending credit limits to generators, similarly to how Holo Fuel economics is designed in the above box link, as well as other mechanisms that dynamically stabilise the price in response and counter to economic signals.

On the other hand, since the capital expense of a renewable energy system is higher than e.g. for a Holo port, particularly for commercial and utility scale systems, unless the credit limit extended can be very large (which may be difficult or impractical to do), it is likely to be helpful to provide a way to fund the installation of new systems. This is as opposed to providing an income stream for existing systems with adaptive electricity trading. It may be possible for multiple agent-generators to pool their credit limits together to fund a large community-owned renewable energy system, even at a utility scale. Whether that functionality would be within the adaptive energy trading app or used outside of it is an open question and is yet to be designed or implemented.

That said, it still seems worthwhile to build energy use cases, like those mentioned in this Internet of Energy book, as well as others like for electric vehicles and EV charging networks, with Holochain, the Internet of Energy, and Holo-fuel like cryptocurrencies. Think of apps and services like electric vehicle subscriptions (a la Steer EV) and electric vehicle charging and fleet management software (like e.g. Amp Control) being redesigned to run on Holochain with an Holo-fuel-like cryptocurrency, thus harnessing the benefits that these would provide relative to blockchains and centralized systems: namely better scalability (resulting in an ability to more quickly address the climate crisis/emergency); distribution in a p2p sense of the network, as well as better distribution of energy, production, influential power, wealth, and equality.

Renewable energy generators may include solar photovoltaic and thermal systems, wind turbines, pumped hydro; hydroelectric power that does not involve flooding vegetation to create a dam; geothermal; ocean thermal; tidal; or any other form of generation that is derived from renewable sources of energy (the Sun, wind, thermal gradients, motion of fluids like water and air, piezoelectric, waste biomass, etc), and not from fossil fuels or large-scale hydro, the latter of which involves flooding of vegetation. Bioenergy that is derived from primary agriculture should also be ruled out as it competes with other land uses, such as agriculture for food production, rainforests and other ecosystems, and other human land uses.

TODO: write more about the design with mechanisms to create a dynamic supply that stabilises in value in response and counter to economic signals.

A suggested approach to working on a smart energy app for EVs (maybe including charging management and usage, subscriptions, pay-per-drive and pay-per-ride, or probably just one of these to start with, while allowing for future extensibility) may include forking the Internet of Energy and developing that, in tandem with designing and developing the app. However, I don’t really need EVs enough to start a company built around them. Most of the time I’m happy to get around by pushbike! I gravitate more towards the idea of funding new renewable energy projects, and the apps that are already being built (or may have already been privately built with centralized, proprietary apps) by Redgrid. So perhaps it would be better to either work on the IoE with the hope of getting hired by Redgrid—which seems like a risky move, especially given the amount of voluntary work that I’ve already done; to get a job and hope to switch to a job with Redgrid down the track (this would be the least risky); or to work on another happ (like for funding new energy projects) or project, do freelance consulting, etc.

The least capital intensive option of the above ideas may be just an app for allowing electric vehicle owners

Other background reading includes:

Here are some similar posts by myself:

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Should you perhaps contrast your ideas to Solarcoin? They claim to have over 7000 solar installations, using a PoS blockchain.

I presume there may be also other major players in the area, but this is the largest one I know of. The others that I know are mostly small experiments within EU H2020 and other projects.

P2P Foundation seems to have had a list of such projects, but it hasn’t been updated since 2013.

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Yes, I know of Solarcoin and have been in contact with the founder some time ago, and also know other players like Power Ledger, Grid+, and LO3, however, they all use blockchains as a base, and won’t be as scalable, agent-centric, and distributed (without the flow-on benefits that are associated with these features) as using Holochain.

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I added this para. to my post

and also this:

There’s also WePower, who appear to have the distinction of actually having connections with major energy producers in Europe.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention RedGrid, who are building their project on Holochain after having conducted some successful tests on localised energy grids in Bangladesh and some university grid in I-forget-where: #projects:redgrid

Thanks Paul, I hadn’t heard of WePower.

I have mentioned Redgrid prominently in my post as of the latest edit yesterday.

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Oh, I see you did mention RedGrid; I missed it. #whoops