A Demonstration of Blockchain-Based Energy Transactions between Laboratory Test Homes

Dylan Cutler, Ted Kwasnik, Sivasathya Pradha Balamurugan, Bethany Sparn, Karen Hsu, Samuel Booth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Current electricity payment mechanisms and accessible value streams are inhibiting innovation in energy markets that stand to enhance grid security and resilience and enable increased integration of distributed energy resources (DER). In the era of near-instantaneous settlement times brought about by blockchain technology, the unidirectional (customer --> utility) monthly settlement of the incumbent infrastructure appears arcane. The lack of an effective market interface for DER results in fewer value streams for customers, underutilized assets for utilities, and reduced opportunities for vendors/manufacturers. A secure, real-time energy market enabled by blockchain technology presents a transformative opportunity to unlock innovations in DER and integrated controls. Blockchain technology provides a compelling pathway to energy market evolution, however there are several challenges to be addressed, including: simultaneous exchange of currency and energy commodities, ensuring customer privacy, incorporating transmission/distribution losses in energy trading contracts. To address the first of these - commodity tracking - we have established peer-to-peer energy transactions between two test homes at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Our research architecture demonstrates integration with high-fidelity metering for commodity tracking, and integration with NREL's foresee(TM) controls platform which orchestrates building loads and DER to execute the energy contract. The digital currency Dash, which supports enhanced privacy features and instant transactions, is employed for transaction settlement. BlockCypher's blockchain-agnostic web services are used to provide future flexibility in integrating various payment and contract options. In this paper we describe the technology, the research methodology employed, and present results on transaction execution speed and compliance with energy trading contracts.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see https://aceee.org/files/proceedings/2018/index.html

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-7A40-71121


  • blockchain
  • distributed energy resources
  • integrated controls


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