Distributed Charge - GRID is a general purpose electric metering system with integrated micropayments using the bitcoin lightning network.
This is super interesting, probably the best Lightning project I've seen ever, but it also looks so difficult to get going. Maybe you'll need a big team of marketeers paid for with VC money.
Except, "VC money", or...just couple of bitcoin angel investors who also happen to want to be customers. I think that's more likely.
There must be regions where the governments control the energy grid and prices, such that there would be easy arbitrage in price and quality of service.
For instance, lots of places have common rolling outages, so EVERYBODY has to maintain independent generators. There are also places where the price of energy is regulated, so if you can produce power cheaper, boom!
VC money is interested in anything that will make money. If things like go-to-market, unit economics, UX can be figured out reasonably well, I don't think this would have much of a problem getting VC money. The total addressable market is huge - every home/business, every electric car, etc.
Go-to-market for this is not trivial though. What is the Uber black cars in SF equivalent to this?
The difficulty is big for sure. It's
  1. a double-sided market
  2. a hardware product that both market sides need
  3. uses niche money
The best way to get anything going though is to look for people that need this the most. Perhaps it is electric car owners looking for cheap energy.
Distributed Charge was started with the electric car charging application in mind. More information about that can be found here: http://andyschroder.com/DistributedCharge/ . In addition to car charging, landlord-tenant situations are another good application, whether these be residential, commercial, or industrial tenants.
@andy - you are a hero, what a ground breaking project!
As the founder, can you explain how regular plebs like myself could contribute to the project?
The design reveals how unfortunate current energy transactions are. It's easy to take for granted all the kludgy trust systems built into something as pedestrian as pumping gas.
There's some big brain stuff here too: we might eventually be able to treat energy more like information, decentralizing it sort of like information has been decentralized. This requires more independent energy producers but it seems plausible. I don't know enough about energy grids, but my mind is mildly blown thinking about it.
Do you think about entire networks/grids of energy built trustlessly like this andy?
Yes, on my website (http://andyschroder.com/DistributedCharge/) I mention
"The distributed charge project was established to make bitcoin the native payment method of the energy grid by creating hardware devices, open source software, and standard protocols for negotiating real time energy pricing and micropayment between machines, on every corner of the earth.
Every electric meter should allow for bi-directional payment and energy flows, and everyone should be able to easily buy and sell energy privately without the need to involve third parties or inflationary monetary systems. ".
There is definitely a long way to go, but things have to start somewhere. In order to have true decentralization where everybody can have both bi-directional energy flows, as well as multiple connections, there will be some new power electronics required as well. Presently, I'm only addressing the payment flows and assuming a tree like structure for the energy grid and not a mesh.