Distributed Energy Metering Considered as a Commons
"Please look more closely at net metering and the energy exchanges that happen under it. It seems to be similar to the kind of mechanism you are looking for, as follows: It measures the individual contribution of a solar owner's surplus (the reversal in the electric meter) to the grid supply, and which entitles the solar owner to credit equivalent to his contribution. You can look at this contribution as a contribution to the common supply of electricity, although it just so happens that this contribution is privately appropriated by the utility at this time. But one can imagine the surplus contributions of many solar owners as something similar to code, information, etc. contributed to a common pool. From this perspective, the grid is a network that is now poised to turn into a commons where the accounting mechanism (my term, equivalent to your 'economic calculation', I believe) has already been found--net metering. I'm not sure yet that this is so, but it think it deserves a second look." (email, January 2016)
"Thus one can think of this phenomenon now as follows: those who have surplus are contributing to the common pool, using wires which are also held in common; the those who are short of electricity draw from this common pool but maybe in the future they will have some surplus to give to the common pool too. And all these exchanges are accurately accounted for by the meters that turn forward or backward depending on the direction of flow of power through the meter. Isn't this the kind of peer-to-peer mechanism you were looking for. Of course, this is a special case, because the meters are already there. How can this be extended to other situations and cases? Do we always need to have metering equipment? Can computers perform a similar recording function for other peer-to-peer activities/exchanges?"