(373al) Grid Edge Modernization Opportunities for Distributed Energy Resources Using Blockchain

Authors: 
King, D. M., EnerBlock LLC
The U.S. power grid, and the economic reliance thereon, has become increasingly overwhelmed due to the increasing penetration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) on the supply-side (“Grid Edge Power Delivery”), and an evolution in smart electronic devices/systems such as LEDs, electric vehicles and demand-response technologies on the demand side (“Grid Edge Power Consumption”). The demands of an always on ‘Internet World’ have put increasing stress and requirements (security, optimization, sustainability) on our electrical infrastructure, which exacerbates the need to reevaluate different grid operational constructs. The current centralized power grid is underequipped to effectively manage such an ever-changing landscape that adversely affects power quality and load profiles. An estimated $79B in annual losses are due to power outages, of which 90% occur at the localized distribution network level of the centralized grid. Enhancing the interoperability of Grid Edge DERs using blockchain technologies can strategically support local distribution networks and mitigate economic losses, while allowing DER asset owners to participate in electricity market opportunities as hybrid producers and consumers (“prosumers”) to increase return on investment.

We present case studies for four DER system designs that implement transactive energy using blockchain: 1) a standard photovoltaic (PV) array with a PV inverter and no energy storage system; 2) an AC-coupled solar+storage system with a PV inverter and a battery inverter; 3) a DC-coupled solar+storage system with a single inverter; and 4) a hybrid AC-coupled and DC-coupled solar+storage system.

The ability to deliver efficiencies based upon the system design and the design of the transactive energy 'rules' will be discussed. We will also provide a brief overview of prospective opportunities pertaining to self-prescribed demand-response management, IoT interoperability, EV charging infrastructure, and how operational considerations may vary across residential, commercial and industrial buildings.