Grid+ created a computer (called Grid+ Smart agent) with natively integrated hardware and software for the Ethereum protocol, that pays for a customer's electricity usage in real time. Grid+ operates with a two-ERC20 token model. The BOLT token, required to use the Grid+ platform is treated as a stable-coin. It's redeemable by customers for $1 worth of energy from Grid* and backed by USD deposits. The GRID token allows Grid+ customers to purchase electricity from Grid+ at wholesale price.
In the past ten years the cost of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar panels and wind turbines has decreased significantly. This has led to expeditious and widespread adoption. Additionally, battery prices are rapidly decreasing, making them economically viable to supplement variable generation renewable resources by storing energy for the electrical grid. The confluence of these developments has created an emergent electrical grid where the means of production are less centralized and the control systems are less likely to be strictly top-down. The concept of independently owned and controlled DERs is known as the transactive energy grid. The transactive grid promises to increase durability of the electrical grid while simultaneously increasing efficiency and enabling the adoption of more renewable energy. However, the distributed nature of the transactive grid poses two major challenges primarily related to technical control and grid administration. Both challenges can potentially be addressed using a blockchain. The ConsenSys energy team has several years of experience building and demonstrating proof-of-concept blockchain-based distributed energy resource management solutions. Through this experience, ConsenSys identified the opportunity to form Grid+, which will build natively Ethereum-based utilities in deregulated markets. Grid+ will demonstrate production ready blockchain-based energy solutions at scale in competitive commercial environments. In doing so, Grid+ will enable the transactive grid of the future while proving the advantages of Ethereum over incumbent technologies. Grid+ is developing a hardware and software stack to create a secure Ethereum enabled gateway and connect Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. The hardware gateway, or “smart energy agent”, is an Internet-enabled, always-on appliance which will securely store cryptocurrencies and process payments for electricity in real-time. The agent will also programmatically buy and sell electricity on behalf of the user and intelligently manage smart loads (e.g. Tesla Powerwall or Nest thermostat). The software stack will work in conjunction with the smart energy agent to make payments using a combination of Grid+ designed payment-channels and a Raiden network hub (when available). Grid+ is developing a system architecture that allows a typical user to leverage cryptocurrencies while remaining unaware of it’s use. Interestingly, the implementation of a secure, always-on system with low friction payment rails provides a missing piece of critical infrastructure in the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem. The Grid+ infrastructure has many uses beyond electricity and will be key to enabling the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.