Microgrids may bring the twilight of big transmission. Shutterstock Ed Krapels is a curious sort of electrical-transmission developer who thinks we don’t need to develop more transmission.

“We need less transmission in the future, but we need better-located and better-sited transmission,” the founder and CEO of Boston-based Anbaric Development Partners told me last week. Krapels came to that conclusion as he watched diverse technological developments converge, including the falling price of batteries, the rise of wind and solar power across the grid, and the advent of blockchain, the encrypted virtual ledger system behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Together these developments compel the electrical system toward microgrids, Krapels said in an interview and appearance last week at the University of Chicago, and away from big transmission projects. “Microgrid is kind of a hot new word.

We’re going to marry it up with another hot new word: blockchain. And so what we’re now seeing is I think really a revolutionary change in the organization of consumers,” he said.

Microgrids allow energy producers and consumers—and the “prosumers” who do both—to set up discrete electrical systems that can function independently of the larger grid. Blockchain allows them to engage in real-time automated exchanges with each other, buying and selling power throughout the day and night as supply and demand fluctuates. Read more from forbes.com…

thumbnail courtesy of forbes.com