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Can we extend the business model of Uber and Airbnb to the electricity sector?
The new sharing economy has disrupted housing and transportation sectors. Homeowners can rent out their property when they are away on vacation, car owners can rent their automobiles when not in use. These sharing economy businesses are based on monetizing under-utilized infrastructure. They are enabled by peer-to-peer platforms that match eager sellers with willing buyers.

Are there compelling sharing economy opportunities in the electricity sector? What products can be shared in tomorrow’s Smart Grid? Could consumers trade electricity via online matching markets? In this paper, we begin by exploring sharing economy opportunities in the electricity sector. We discuss regulatory and technical challenges to these opportunities. We then study the specific problem of a collection of firms sharing their electricity storage. We show that the investment decision of the firms form a Nash equilibrium which supports the social welfare. We offer explicit expression for optimal storage investments and equilibrium prices for shared storage in a spot market. We discuss technology platforms necessary for the physical exchange of power, and market platforms necessary to trade electricity storage.

Related Publications:
1.  Chenye Wu, Dileep Kalathil, Kameshwar Poolla, Pravin Varaiya, “The Sharing Economy for Electricity Storage”, submitted to the conference on Decision and Control, Las Vegas, 2016.