Analysis and Design of Scalable Blockchain-based Smart Contract System for Smart Grid Monitoring and Control

  • Author / Creator
    Honari, Kimia
  • Energy systems are undergoing rapid changes to adapt to both increasing demand and growing penetration of embedded renewable generation. The Smart Grid, which integrates information and communication technologies into the grid infrastructure, is one possible solution to both needs. However, if the number of residential prosumers grows to a significant fraction of the total customer base, the current, centralized systems for managing energy markets and operations will be insufficient. New, distributed systems will be needed instead. Blockchains, which are a peer-to-peer (P2P) decentralized ledger technology, and smart contracts built upon them, appear to be a promising approach to designing these systems. This is a fairly new area of investigation, and the literature to date is largely fragmented. Hence, in the first part of this thesis, we conduct a systematic review of distributed energy management through blockchain technology, focusing on smart contract design and development. We categorize the application domains into four main fields, including market operations, ancillary services, auditing and monitoring, and cybersecurity. We determined that data storage and blockchain interoperability are cross-cutting concerns in all of these areas, and we examined solutions for them.

    Renewable energy sources in the energy system produce power intermittently, depending on weather conditions. This raises new challenges in the management and operation of electricity system, as intermittency negatively impacts the existing control measures used to ensure safe operation and stability. Furthermore, the future energy market may well include tens or hundreds of thousands of individual actors in the markets that will sell power from renewable and micro-generation. All these complexities and challenges in the grid are putting increasing pressure on the monitoring and control systems, in particular voltage stability control. Hence, decentralized voltage stability algorithms are receiving considerable attention. This class of algorithm principally operates on localized voltage measurements but still ensures system-level stability. Several studies have used blockchains to provide ancillary services by tracking and managing energy distribution or organizing some distributed energy resources. However, the performance of blockchain-based systems in real-time grid monitoring and control has never been empirically tested. In the second part of this thesis, we propose implementing a decentralized voltage stability algorithm, using blockchain-based smart contracts, as a testbed for evaluating the performance of blockchains in real-time control. We furthermore investigate sharding mechanisms as a means of improving the system’s scalability with fixed computing resources. We implement our models as a proof-of-concept prototype system using Hyperledger Fabric as our blockchain platform, the Matpower library in MATLAB as our power system simulator, and Hyperledger Caliper as our performance evaluation tool. We found that sharding does indeed lead to a substantial improvement in system scalability for this domain, measured by both transaction success rates and transaction latency.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.