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Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Blockchain has begun to show promise for a wide range of energy applications, from energy trading platforms to carbon production registries to transaction frameworks in emerging markets. Distributed energy resources — including rooftop solar, energy storage and demand response — as well as microgrid systems and back-end business operating environments present other areas of opportunity.

Why it matters: These applications have sparked a boost in investment, estimated at $100 to $300 million since 2014 by the Energy Futures Futures Initiative and as much as $324 million in the last year alone by Greentech Media. As these industry changes accelerate, blockchain will help make energy systems more efficient and profitable.

Blockchain lets firms create a transaction architecture that slashes overhead costs, while at the same time providing more security. Some exponents overpromise that there’s a blockchain solution for every problem, but many blockchain innovations are already up and running:

  • Oil traders have used blockchain to reduce digital trading time from 3 hours to 25 minutes by speeding up verification and fraud detection.
  • In Brooklyn, a microgrid uses a blockchain backbone to automate peer-to-peer transactions between more than 60 energy producers (mostly solar photovoltaic systems) and 800 local consumers.
  • A network of more than 1,200 new electric-vehicle charging stations was built with blockchain.

What’s next: Regulators, investors and policymakers will have to work together on rules that will ensure blockchain applications reach their full potential, helping to exchange more energy more efficiently.

Alex Kizer is director of research at the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI).

Go deeper: EFI’s report on blockchain applications

Go deeper

Latinas head for the federal bench

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Tom Williams, Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A number of Latina judges recently have been nominated to U.S. federal courts, which for many years saw few Hispanics and Afro-Latinos on their benches.

Why it matters: Decisions made in courtrooms can affect people in ways large and small, with cases on voting rights, abortion, healthcare and more playing out in courts across the country.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.