Centrica has thrown its weight behind New York-based start-up LO3 Energy, which specialises in blockchain solutions for the energy market.
Centrica is to invest in LO3 via its Centrica Innovations unit and will do so alongside Braemar Energy Ventures, a VC fund with a specific focus on energy technology companies.
LO3 is working on a commercialised blockchain-based platform that would enable peer-to-peer energy trading marketplaces to take stock, having famously worked on a microgrid project based in Brooklyn, New York, which became the world’s first to use blockchain technologies.
LO3’s platform stores and validates data which allows consumers to generate, store, buy and sell their power. The transacting process associated with the peer-to-peer trading is both trackable and tamper-proof through its use of blockchain technology.
Lawrence Orsini, chief executive and founder at LO3, said that blockchain was the “key to unlocking the real potential of distributed generation”.
“Our Brooklyn microgrid has proven that our blockchain-based hardware and software technology is ready to be taken to the next level, allowing consumers to become ‘prosumers’, with the ability to determine how they generate, consume, store and sell their energy to the grid,” Orsini added.
Neither LO3 nor Centrica have provided any indication as to the size of the investment, however it sits neatly inside the remit with which Centrica Innovations was launched in February this year. The energy giant revealed it was setting aside £100 million to “identify, incubate and accelerate” emerging technologies which it then planned to introduce to its own offering.
Christophe Defert, ventures director for Centrica Innovations, said the investment demonstrated the company’s commitment to technologies that had the “potential to disrupt”.
“We look forward to working with LO3 on blockchain-based projects more broadly across Centrica, and the opportunity to provide our customers with more flexibility and control over how they buy and use their energy,” he said.
Orsini said LO3 would utilise the investment to both scale its platform and demonstrate its technology to customers worldwide.
Jiong Ma, partner at Braemar Energy Ventures, said the transactive nature of LO3’s solution and Centrica’s local energy network fit squarely alongside its vision of the future.
“We believe LO3 has the world’s leading blockchain architecture for power markets that will eventually extend beyond these projects and expand through LO3’s imminent token issuance event,” Ma added.