re:publica: Digitization meets Participation
At the heart of the digital society – the re:publica in Berlin – we from the energy and IT company LichtBlick hosted a workshop to discuss what the energy sharing future could look like. A 500 hour-long program, 8.000 participants and 770 international speakers made the re:publica a memorable event and created a space for the most trending topics of the digital world.
Participation is key
Enabling participative structures was a highly valued topic in the scope of the conference. This was reflected in several sessions discussing “platform cooperativism”, digital governance issues and democratic structures. High involvement of the audience and its willingness to address critical topics underlined the mindset of re:publicans.
The three Ds
How does this relate to energy? In the global energy world we are seeing three prevailing trends – decarbonization, decentralization, digitization. These are underlined by a strong rise in renewable energy, an upwind of clean technologies due to declining costs and a tendency of everything becoming smart, no matter if we are talking about devices, meters or the grid.
Disruptive trends in traditional industries
When looking at other industries digitization has already met participation. Platforms such as Airbnb and Uber have transformed long-lasting industries at a speed which outperformed expectations. At the core of this trend are participative structures that drive a more efficient use of resources while bringing people together.
Enabling people in the energy world
In the energy world participation is represented by the role of the prosumer – a person who not only consumes, but also produces energy. Through this, a shift of power is introduced as prosumers become more and more independent from utilities. We believe that this is just the beginning. The incumbents are trying to keep pace with the innovations that are recently disrupting the energy world. We see renewables achieving price parity, electric vehicles adding mobile storage to the market and a rise of software offering various energy solutions. In the future, energy can potentially be shared with anyone. So we pose the question: How do we want to share energy in the future?
re:publica: Prototyping the energy sharing future
At the re:publica this question fell on fruitful ground and encountered an interested audience. Within a LichtBlick-workshop called “Prototyping the energy sharing future”, we were able to discuss the topic in small groups, which then designed individual prototypes of a platform potentially giving leverage to this future. Each group came up with interesting ideas offering different perspectives – ranging from crowdfunding of distributed energy resources to cooperative neighborhood models.
Shaping the future
We were excited to see what is important to potential users of such a platform and to receive a fresh perspective on the topic. Also, we were enthusiastic to learn about digital rights, blockchain, bitcoin and many other topics that will shape our future. The energy world is a sector that will undergo much change in the coming years. We are here to contribute and shape this to essentially shift power to the people.
See you next year at the re:publica 2017!
And here the results: