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The impact of blockchain-enabled commodities is creating significant inroads in the Thai economy, as regulators asked local blockchain startups to pay extra charges in a bid to contain the robust competition to the state’s utility providers, reported Asian Review on September 6.
Blockchain Competes with Power Players
Throughout the narrative of cryptocurrencies, the energy-intensive crypto-mining sector and blockchain technology as a power-guzzling database have been called out by regulators and city authorities across the world.
But, Thai authorities are in a fix after several enterprising startups turned to blockchain technology for enabling cheaper and more reliable power for households and commercial centers, courtesy of the unexpected explosion of blockchain-based solar panel layouts.
Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority (EGA) is just waking up to the impact. Commission member Viraphol Jirapraditkul believes the disruptive effects of peer-to-peer connected blockchain solar panels create a utility economy that may prove more accessible for the general populace.
Furthermore, a blockchain system’s security and transparency prowess means the government would compete on additional factors than just price.
Decentralized Power Grids
For the uninitiated, blockchain technology, in its simplest definition, is a shared database where participants can access data in real time and be rewarded by “confirming” transactions taking place on the network.
Apart from decentralized finance, blockchain finds use in different avenues each day – ranging from space travel to crime – and now as a contender for state-owned, monopolized utility providers.
Thai startups are interconnecting solar panel users and providers on the blockchain, creating a city-wide shared network that acts as an electricity microgrid, buying and selling power to customers on a peer-to-peer basis.
“The number of household solar rooftop power generators is increasing rapidly. That’s why the ERC needs to develop a regulation that is fair for everybody.”
Imposed regulations – and the charged fee – would include network maintenance and allow grid operators to continue their business.
Listed Companies Join the Fray
A section of industry observers worry that high prices are causing independent energy providers to flee the market. However, Viraphol refused to reveal the state’s proposed fees in the report cited.
Meanwhile, the peer-to-peer power economy extends from just startups to listed companies.
BCPG, a utility subsidiary of state-owned oil refinery Bangchak, has partnered with a Bangkok-based real estate player to enable homeowners to profit from their rooftops and drive monopolized entities out of the market. The entity currently produces over 635 kW of power each day – enough to power a local mall and maintain a small community.
Another state-owned solar panel installation subsidiary, Banpu Infinergy, is tapping into blockchain technology for fending off competition from startups and gain prominence in the new industry.