Challenge

The global energy sector is changing, forcing existing providers to rethink their models and adjust in the face of disruptive technology innovation and new demands. Renewables and energy storage are becoming increasingly attainable and affordable, leading to the emergence of a new economic actor: producer-consumers. These “prosumers” are interested in selling their net excess energy through open, peer-to-peer (P2P) transactive ecosystems.

Consumer enthusiasm for new energy models and technologies is putting pressure on power company distribution grids. Traditional grid structures are not well protected against hackers and cyber threat actors, nor are they able to incorporate net energy metering from consumer-end generation sources. According to the IEEE Computer Society, “a 2016 report by infrastructure engineering and construction consultancy Black & Veatch ranked cybersecurity as the second most pressing issue for electric utilities, only behind reliability…Alarmingly, the 2016 report indicated that only 32 percent of electric utilities had integrated cybersecurity systems with the ‘proper segmentation, monitoring and redundancies’ needed to deal with cyberthreats, while 48 percent had no such capabilities.”

Today’s climate demands that utilities establish a better way to incorporate prosumers into their model. Further, they must ensure that prosumers and consumers have access to a trustworthy energy marketplace on which they can automatically, securely transact value, as well as an electrical grid that is adequately protected against the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

Solution

Independent renewable energy generation, net metering, smart contracts and attestable transactive grids offer an entirely new, clean, local form of energy generation and usage. In order to create a marketplace on which energy can be purchased systematically, automatically, and reliably, data needs to be guaranteed secure and authentic. Blockchain technology meets all the criteria.

Enabling P2P, decentralized, autonomous clean energy marketplaces will benefit the entire system. It provides better utilization of grid assets, greater resilience and reliability and increased choice and control over personal energy usage. Responsive prosumers can provide “demand response” when the grid is overloaded, reducing the need for building new power plants. Utilities will be able to leverage smart infrastructure – through autonomous device-to-device price signaling – to increase or reduce power consumption on a minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour basis, improving grid efficiency and resiliency. Intelligent hardware that offers data agility and the ability to implement P2P transactions and smart contracts is the first and best defense against monopolies, oligarchies or malicious actors seeking for ways to disrupt the grid.

The shift to transactive microgrids will require additional trust between parties above and beyond what is possible with traditional technologies. Filament’s blockchain solution is the bridge that can build that trust. With Filament’s BlockletTM USB Enclave and Blocklet ChipTM technology, consumers, prosumers and traditional energy companies can work together to create a system that optimizes outcomes for all.

Filament’s Transactive Microgrid Solution provides:

  • Distributed Ledger Technology-agnostic data that is verified, signed, hashed and encrypted on a hosted ledger
  • Cryptographic security layer with tamper-proof digital attestation
  • New potential transactive models including P2P energy markets
  • Digital identity for ensuring provenance of data
  • Integration with existing and new hardware such as smart meters and inverters

System Architecture

Blocklet-USB-Enclave_Angled-box

Filament’s Blocklet USB and UART Enclaves integrate with smart meters that can connect via Modbus to a microcomputer. The Blocklet-enabled device signs the data provided by the paired energy measurement device. If the energy meter, microcomputer or Blocklet integration is changed, the unit will cease signing data to ensure prevention of tampered data insertion. Filament provides a hosted, managed distributed ledger instance to create a complete, cryptographically-secured end-to-end distributed ledger.

Filament’s Blocklet is used to verify, sign, hash and encrypt power inflows and outflows. Using the smart meter’s network communications, the data is transmitted to a validator node within the distributed ledger. The validator node verifies and authenticates the source (the smart meter) as a good actor, then publishes the transaction to the ledger.

Blocklet-USB-Enclave_Angled-box

Features

Enables blockchain native renewable energy and microgrid models including transactive grid, automated carbon credits and renewable energy credits

Measures and attests energy production and consumption

Publishes measurements to a secure, external Distributed Ledger

Employs dedicated cryptographic hardware for end-to-end encryption and on-chip private key storage

Attaches to existing infrastructure or can be built in (smart meters)