Blockchain technology to secure cross-border data exchange between smart meter platforms

The energy system is developing rapidly and smart grids are becoming a rule rather than exception in Europe. For example, there are 750,000 smart energy meters in use in Estonia and 15.7 million in the Netherlands. As the information flows in the energy system are increasing, the transmission system operators (TSO) are looking for ways to secure the information as it moves between market participants.

The SOFIE project will develop a blockchain driven federated IoT business platform that is beneficial in various fields, including the energy sector. Within SOFIE, four pilots will be conducted to test the applicability of the platform. Two of these pilots (in Italy and Estonia) will deal with the field of energy.    

The aim of the Estonian energy pilot is to build a demonstrator based on a use case of the local TSO. The demonstrator can show how the SOFIE federated framework can be used for reading and signing smart meter logs, providing reliable data feeds both in-country and cross-border, and allowing 3rd parties to develop applications on top of this framework. Also, SOFIE can initiate a really distributed energy marketplace that will liberate energy prosumption from utilities lock-in.

The Estonian energy pilot will use real data from 750,000 smart energy meters. To gain access to these data, Guardtime (Estonia) will work closely with Elering, an independent electricity and gas system operator. Elering operates the Estfeed open software platform which is capable of interacting with the power network and providing data feeds for efficient use of energy.

Kalle Kukk, the Strategy manager of Elering AS explains the rationale behind their cooperation with Guardtime in the SOFIE project: “Elering AS has developed a software platform (Estfeed) where energy consumers share their electricity, gas and central heating meter readings. However, the market demands that we not only operate the system but also take responsibility for the integrity and transparency of the data shared between market participants. This is where the SOFIE project becomes important for us.”

In a nutshell, the benefits of the SOFIE framework in the field of smart energy are: 

  • Protecting the entity selling the energy from court cases as the authenticity of the electronic data can be mathematically proven.
  • Providing energy consumption readings which are correct beyond dispute (blockchain technology makes it impossible to change the data already on blockchain).
  • Providing provenance throughout the infrastructure that an energy company is managing until delivery is made to a 3rd party environment.
  • Providing the ability to track who has requested personal data about an end user  (from the energy consumption side and the end customer’s point of view).