The national laboratory observes the blockchain for the safety of the energy network
With the US power grid it is rapidly evolving into a dynamic system with distributed power generation and connected intelligent loads, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is examining the potential of the blockchain to ensure energy delivery systems with transactional attributes.
"Improving the ability to identify, control and protect network devices with blockchain technology can increase the security and reliability of energy transactions in real time without adding prohibitive costs, latency, interoperability or scale problems, "the PNNL network's cyber security research program led by Paul Skare in his written testimony to the Senate on August 21 on Energy and Natural Resources Hearing of the Committee.
"By using a private blockchain, this approach has the potential for power applications to add elements to the blockchain every second, and to verify the data from the blockchain by the next second," he said. "This rapid update capability is essential for managing the growing data requirements of the modern electricity grid."
Blockchain can support advanced IT security and patch management controls, and can guarantee supply chains, device integrity, and supply and demand transactions between micro-grids. Other possible cases of use are electric vehicle charging and billing applications, meter access management, peer-to-peer exchange of distributed energy, change of supplier and emission certificates.
"Securing our power grid is a long-term business that will require a range of strategies and new technologies, and there is not a silver bullet," said Skare. "Blockchain is just a series of tools we need to develop as we work to achieve the goal of protecting our energy systems."
Sara Friedman is a journalist / producer of GCN, covering the cloud, information security and a wide range of other public sector IT topics.
Prior to joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, covering state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. He also wrote for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecommunications and cloud computing. Friedman graduated from Ithaca College, where he studied journalism, politics and international communications.
Click here for Friedman's previous articles.