Italy has a great number of successful blockchain projects related to efficient energy management, notably in smart cities such as Bologna, Milan, and Venice. However, only 5% of the ventures involved in the energy sector take advantage of digital technologies and fintech.
The second edition of the Digital Energy Report was written by the Energy & Strategy Group of the School of Management in the Polytechnic University of Milan with the help of numerous partner companies. The report says that among 353 projects having relation to sustainable management of natural resources and put into the field in the first 15 smart cities in Italy (Milan, Bologna, Venice, Florence, Turin, Padua, Bergamo, Vicenza, Reggio Emilia, Trieste, Modena, Ravenna, Rimini, Trento and Genoa), only 5% take full advantage of blockchain. Besides, all of them lack the latest technological update.
In the sector, there are still a lot of projects where digital technologies such as blockchain, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence are not used. Sometimes they are used for basic operations, linked to connectivity or the availability of information. It is not surprising, as only 47 million euros are invested in the field related to sustainability.
In a report in 2018, the use of blockchain solutions within smart cities is vividly identified. There are three main areas where these solutions are the most widespread: living (buildings and public lighting), mobility (solutions and infrastructures for mobility), and environment (production, network infrastructure and waste management). Each of these points corresponds to a great variety of technological solutions and possible configurations that differ in terms of digitisation, degree of complexity and focus on energy contexts.
There is no doubt that private individuals and businesses in that area make much greater investments in the development of blockchain in the sector. The picture of the current market is not very bright, but blockchain and other technologies should be implemented as a means of increasing investments and to integrate what has been done by private individuals.
Looking at the national level, the report showed that 353 existing projects related to the sector are operating in Italy. Mobility is a dominant area for blockchain technology, with 40% of the projects. Meanwhile, a living area seems to be less popular, making 32% of the total number. Finally, environment area occupies the remaining 28%. There was stated that around 74% of these projects were analog (without digital solutions), 21% is digital-enabled and only 5% is truly digital.