Smart contracts in energy systems: A systematic review of fundamental approaches and implementations

Kirli, D., Couraud, B., Robu, V., Salgado-Bravo, M., Norbu, S., Andoni, M. , Antonopoulos, I., Negrete-Pincetic, M., Flynn, D. and Kiprakis, A. (2022) Smart contracts in energy systems: A systematic review of fundamental approaches and implementations. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 158, 112013. (doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2021.112013)

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Given the ongoing transition towards a more decentralised and adaptive energy system, the potential of blockchain-enabled smart contracts for the energy sector is being increasingly recognised. Due to their self-executing, customisable and tamper-proof nature, they are seen as a key technology for enabling the transition to a more efficient, transparent and transactive energy market. The applications of smart contracts include coordination of smart electric vehicle charging, automated demand-side response, peer-to-peer energy trading and allocation of the control duties amongst the network operators. Nevertheless, their use in the energy sector is still in its early stages as there are many open challenges related to security, privacy, scalability and billing. In this paper, we systematically review 178 peer-reviewed publications and 13 innovation projects, providing a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of smart contracts used in the energy sector. This work offers a broad perspective on the opportunities and challenges that stakeholders using this technology face, in both current and emergent markets, such as peer-to-peer energy trading platforms. To provide a roadmap for researchers and practitioners interested in the technology, we propose a systematic model of the smart contracting process, by developing a novel 6-layer architecture, as well as presenting a sample energy contract in pseudocode form and as open-source code. Our analysis focuses on the two mainstream application areas we identify for smart contract use in this area: energy and flexibility trading, and distributed control. The paper concludes with a comprehensive, critical discussion of the advantages and challenges that must be addressed in the area of smart contracts and blockchains in energy, and a set of recommendations that researchers and developers should consider when applying smart contracts to energy system settings.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the following UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) projects: Doctoral Training Partnership grants EP/R513209/1 (Desen Kirli) and EP/R513040/1 - 2123508 (Sonam Norbu), the UK National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) [EP/P001173/1], Community-scale Energy Demand Reduction in India (CEDRI) [EP/R008655/1], the InnovateUK Responsive Flexibility (ReFLEX) [GrantNo: 10478], Decarbonisation Pathways for Cooling and Heating (DISPATCH), United Kingdom [EP/V042955/1] and by the following Chilean organisations: the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research through National Doctorate Fund (Marcelo Salgado), Chile [CONICYT-PFCHA 2020-21202068] and the Complex Engineering Systems Institute, Chile [CONICYT PIA/BASAL AFB180003] and the Chilean National Research and Development Agency (ANID) [FONDEF ID17I20161].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Andoni, Dr Merlinda and Flynn, Professor David and Couraud, Dr Benoit
Authors: Kirli, D., Couraud, B., Robu, V., Salgado-Bravo, M., Norbu, S., Andoni, M., Antonopoulos, I., Negrete-Pincetic, M., Flynn, D., and Kiprakis, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
ISSN (Online):1879-0690
Published Online:20 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).
First Published:First published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 158:112013
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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