Evidencing and authenticating energy demand side response using high frequency electricity disaggregation and distributed ledger technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources


Rapid penetration of distributed generation technologies such as photovoltaics wind and hydro, combined with electricity network constraints, is leading many to explore radically different configurations of the energy system. One of the hallmarks of this reconfiguration is the need to balance supply and demand at both the local and national levels in order to accommodate increasing penetration of intermittent renewable power into the grid. Such intermittent renewable power frequently lies that the extremities of the grid, creating problems for grid connection and load balancing, and requiring significant infrastructure upgrade costs unless alternative solutions are found.
To help demand follow supply there are two broad classes of solutions: demand-side response (shifting the timing of demand to meet available power supplies); and local energy storage (at the local grid or building level). In order to support uptake of DSR and local storage four key conditions must be met. Firstly, consumers must see value in it, this value can be financial, social (e.g. community participation) or phychological (e.g. risk aversion). Secondly, there must be some way of verifying that a specific customer has provided the DSR service - either through exporting electricity from local generation, storage, or by demand reduction at peak times. Thridly, there must be a way to record and authenticate that DSR service, to ensure trust in the system from all parties. Forthly, there must be a way to transact that service, so all units of energy generation, storage or reduction are uniquely accounted for both physically and financially. This is a very challenging problem, but one in which recent advances in electricity load disaggregation, and the development of distributed ledgers ('blockchains') offers significant new potential to address.
The research will address the following questions:
1. What blockchain architectures can be used to authenticate demand-side response within timeframes that would allow participation in the different elements of the energy market - from the half-hourly wholesale market to the fast frequency response energy market?
2. What forms of evidence, and what level of confidence, will regulators and market actors accept as evidence of a demand-side response in order to allow participation in energy trading of that response?
3. How do these acceptable forms of evidence vary depending on the timeframe of the energy market mechanisms?
4. What are the social, policy, regulatory, data protection, communications technology, and hardware enablers and constraints to end user participation in energy trading?


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512400/1 01/10/2017 31/03/2022
2082669 Studentship EP/R512400/1 24/09/2018 01/02/2021 Letitia Zainea