Japanese energy giant TEPCO is looking to the power of the blockchain to transform its energy sector and has invested in UK startup Electron to make this a reality.

Japan is looking to restructure its energy sector by adopting blockchain technology. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has invested in Electron, a UK-based blockchain startup. According to a press release published on Friday, the Japanese energy giant had made its investment towards the end of last year.

TEPCO is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and is the country’s largest utility service provider. It serves millions of local homes and also has affiliates and subsidiaries in other eight countries. It says that its efforts have the objective of exploring solution that can usher in a blockchain revolution in the energy sector.

According to its Managing Executive Officer, Shin-ichiro Kengaku, TEPCO hopes to "explore and obtain additional know-how on blockchain that has the potential to significantly impact the energy market."

TEPCO’s History with Blockchain Technology

This is not the first time that the Japanese giant has expressed interest in the blockchain. They started considering the innovation since 2011, after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Last year, the company partnered with Grid, an ethereum-based platform that was developing a pre-payment package option for power consumers. During the same year, TEPCO also joined the Energy Web Foundation, an initiative that aims to promote blockchain use in the energy sector.

Singapore Power is also part of this initiative, as it is looking to deploy blockchain technology in various household systems like ventilation, air conditioning, heating and also creating a network of solar cells, batteries and smart vehicles that can communicate with each other.

In the latest collaborative efforts with Electron, the company has highlighted its desire to explore the potential of this technology in transforming the energy market.

Electron's Vision

Electron, which received the bridging round investment from TEPCO, is a British energy technology company that has been making use of blockchain technology to reinvent the space. It has for a long time been touting the advantages that would result from using the technology to reduce overheads in the sector.

Its Chief Executive, Paul Ellis stated,

"In the next phase of energy transformation, millions of new assets will be joining energy networks at both the transmission and distribution levels. There is a huge need to create a robust shared infrastructure that can identify and record the properties of these assets."

According to him, such an infrastructure can be supported by relevant blockchain technologies. He adds,

"TEPCO is an energy industry leader in Japan, so we are delighted to partner with them and to explore expanding our service offerings in other markets."

The Elelctron system is built on ethereum and has in the past successfully used simulated data to demonstrate the significant effect a blockchain transformation can have on the energy sector. The demo draws on data from 53 million power points in homes that are powered by 60 different providers.

The demo shows that switches between the different energy suppliers can be done 20 times faster than the current rate. The same system can be used with other utility services such as water ant telecoms.