Street2Grid - An Electricity Blockchain Platform for P2P Energy Trading

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering


The objective of the Fellowship is to create a new platform to identify millions of streams of power flows in the large-scope distribution network to enable the ambitious blockchain technology for the power industry, which is seen as a future trend with a growing number of distributed energy resources. I believe that the eventual peer-to-peer (P2P) electricity market can only be realised when individual transactions can be physically traced to enhance the transparency and reflect the actual usage of the network for correct billing.

This Fellowship questions the overlook of the present blockchain concept on the power grid infrastructure and proposes to analytically uncouple transactions from the usage of the physical medium for electricity transport. This Fellowship pushes the complex power systems (particularly distribution networks) analytics to its new limits by i) exploiting geographical information system with new distribution power flow tracing techniques with newly defined trait; ii) taking into account the mobility of distributed energy resources, e.g. electric vehicles, battery energy storage to flexible electricity trading from the physical constraint of the infrastructure; iii) using analytical, signal processing and chromatics methodology with smart metering data to improve power flow tracing performance especially for highly complicated distribution networks with microgrids and millions of nodes to represent all market participants; iv) developing a new tool as a fundamental layer of application programming interface to the future blockchain platform.

The outcome of this Fellowship will not only shed light on the fundamental barriers on the energy P2P sharing economy but will also lead to the rollout of blockchain in the energy sector by enabling substantial public engagement to realise "Decarbonisation, Deregulation, Decentralisation" via "Transactions, Transparency, Traceability, Time-stamped, Trust".

Planned Impact

The proposed work has revolutionary potentials to bring about substantial structural changes, at least in the power industry. These will deliver opportunities, benefits but also entail risks for the energy industry, transport industry, prosumers and consumers as communities and individuals, and academia, which are summarised below:

Industrial Impacts/Benefits to the Energy and Transport Industries:
(1) Distributed Operating System (DOS) - From the distribution network operator (DNO)'s point of view, such a system would make it easier to manage the dispersed renewable generation, mitigate network stresses and reduce the need for network reinforcement.
(2) Facilitating Renewables - This would also make it easier to issue certificates for carefully analysed/measured emission allowances and energy efficiency improvements, which would, in turn, simplify the complex yet opaque system currently used, e.g. Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs).
(3) Flexible Trading - The development of an integrated trading system that would permit businesses to trade their option to use electricity during a given time frame. Smaller-scale transactions are becoming economically viable. Simplified routes to market for distributed generators would further boost the growth of renewables.
(4) Market Efficiency - It may make existing electricity industry financial processes more efficient by serving as the backbone for utilities' asset management systems that automatically diagnose network emergencies hence transaction problems and in reaction to them reconfigure the network.
(5) More Electrified Green Transportation - It could prove to be what is required to keep up with evolving demand for electricity in smaller, lower value blocks and at a higher frequency (especially EV charging/discharging practices), rather than making electrified transportation a form of technological disruption that the power industry should passively react to.

Social Impacts/Benefits to Local Communities and Individuals:
(6) Flexibly and Efficiently Switching Supplier - Customers are enabled to switch power suppliers more quickly.
(7) Flexible EV Usage - This idea can provide more flexible EV charging/discharging practices. More specifically, it will address the potential for more flexible distributed renewable power generation and EV charging/discharging practices by options of X2V/V2X (Things-to-Vehicles/Vehicles-to-Things).
(8) Reduced Costs - Overall, this could lead to significant cost reductions, with end users directly benefiting from a more efficient system (both economically and physically efficient). The cost reductions would directly or indirectly lower the transaction costs and energy bills of consumers, via cutting out of intermediaries, e.g. aggregators, greater market transparency with decentralised data storage.
(9) Transaction Flexibility - Another factor enabling savings on energy bills is that energy consumers would also have considerably greater flexibility in choosing their supplier. In blockchain-based transaction systems customers almost constantly switch supplier, as they can find new transaction partners and contract with them within short timescales (in a few minutes).
(10) A Sense of Community - Energy is unique in a way that many people see it as a human right and a public good they pay for. People's engagement in it means energy has not only market value but also social value, which is embodied in transactions within a community.

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/S001778/1 29/06/2018 14/10/2019 £569,980
EP/S001778/2 Transfer EP/S001778/1 15/10/2019 14/06/2021 £387,670