A new partnership has been formed in the U.S., designed to showcase how blockchain technology can be applied to enhance the security and operational efficiency of electric systems. This is for distributed energy resources.
The project is a collaboration between blockchain cybersecurity platform startup Xage Security (located in Palo Alto, California, U.S.) and utility firm Commonwealth Edison (located in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.). The aim is to show how blockchain technology can can assist with integrated distributed energy resources like solar power, energy storage, energy efficiency, and power demand management. The focus is with boosting security as well as making the process of energy demand management more efficient.
Efficiency are deliverable since blockchains can provide decentralized record-keeping and verification. In addition, efficiencies are possible through integration via array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. For customers as well there should be advantages, since solutions and services can be optimized control of energy generation and consumption via blockchains.
In terms of enhanced security, Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Xage Security tells Smart2Zero: "Grid modernization needs to be implemented with sophisticated and comprehensive security solutions from the start. Cyberattacks are becoming more advanced and focused, bypassing network-level protection to target specific industrial control systems. Smart grid cybersecurity must protect every digital interaction." It follows that For IoT technologies to take-off, energy providers must deepen and broaden the integration of cybersecurity within energy systems.
The security of energy grids is important. In the first six months of 2015, for example, more than 100 cyber incidents affected infrastructure in the U.S. While these were lower-scale, there exists a major risk of a terrorist seeking to disrupt or destroy a grid for nefarious purposes.
In a further application of blockchain and energy, Canadian technologists (University of Waterloo) have successfully integrated blockchain technology into energy systems in order to expand charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. This is a blockchain-oriented charging system which enables car owners to determine whether they are being overcharged. The system also allows property owners to assess if they are being underpaid.
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