Domestic and, in particular, cross-border electrical grids have not been sufficiently expanded. Yet, technology continues to progress. These two factors combined are increasingly shifting the focus of thinking in the area of future energy supply-system design onto smart and decentralised approaches.

The pebbles project (peer-to-peer energy trading based on blockchains) is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Smart Service World II programme. The project is to design, develop and field test a digital platform concept for peer-to-peer trading (P2P trading) and the exchange of grid services.

The project will run for three years from March 2018 to February 2021.

Domestic and, in particular, cross-border electrical grids have not been sufficiently expanded. Yet, technology continues to progress. These two factors combined are increasingly shifting the focus of thinking in the area of future energy supply-system design onto smart and decentralised approaches.

The pebbles project (peer-to-peer energy trading based on blockchains) is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Smart Service World II programme. The project is to design, develop and field test a digital platform concept for peer-to-peer trading (P2P trading) and the exchange of grid services.

The project will run for three years from March 2018 to February 2021.

Goal: to develop and demonstrate innovative, regional, digital energy supply approaches with specific focuses on:

Decarbonisation

  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Creating the conditions to further expand the use of renewable energy sources
  • Developing solutions for use in the trend towards electrification (in particular in the transport sector)

Decentralisation

  • Minimising system costs
  • Facilitating sector interdependence – heating, transport, electricity and storage
  • Facilitating active participation, such as prosumption
  • Developing cellular approaches and energy communities

Digitisation

  • Determining economically efficient trade-offs between grid expansion and smart solutions for distribution systems
  • Facilitating automated and decentralised solutions
  • Using a blockchain strategy

PROJECT PLAN

I. Work up concepts and carry out pre-analysis on trade processes and grid services, as well as specifications, functionality and interfaces for the platform.

II. Develop prototypes of software and hardware components, as well as the necessary information and communication technology to connect participants, the virtual power plant and the grid to the platform. The platform is to be built on a blockchain infrastructure, since blockchain has shown huge potential in the areas of data protection, transparency and process automation.

III. Implement the concepts in a demonstrator in order to test the designs and technologies in real life. The first testing phase will verify functionality and safe operation. Then, long-term demonstrations of planned usage scenarios can be set up.

IV. Alongside this application-oriented development pathway, carry out regular analyses to provide overall evaluations of our new concepts and technologies, as well as scaleable assertions about them.

Project plan pebbles

Based on this conceptual design and develpoment steps we want to create a complex, plattformbased system:

Modules & Interfaces pebbles

The key component is the digital platform which connects all stakeholders using information technology.

Alongside the smart market trading platform, which facilitates separate P2P trading of energy products and grid services, we aim to develop a further software component to facilitate trade which is based both on the grid and the market.

This clear separation of market and grid makes for a more fragmented approach. However, our second approach is intended to unlock the potential of the distribution system operator playing a more active role and intervening more aggressively in market developments. This will demonstrate different possible options for how future, platform-based, local energy supply systems could be organised.

Our supplementary cloud service platform comprises digital services which are necessary to the implementation of the platform processes.

Our energy management services (EMS) come into play when the customer does not have their own EMS but does provide access to interfaces which allow communication with the cloud-based EMS. This is the case for the energy campus in Wildpoldsried (stationary battery energy storage as a stand-alone grid for Kempten University of Applied Sciences) and for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

A smart building and the nanogrid – an intelligent residential building – have their own local EMS. In this case, only input data, generation and load prognostics, bids and offers are directly transferred to the platform.

Virtual users are added flexibly as participants to ensure liquidity and to test scalability within local trading. They can be designed to imitate users with or without their own EMS.

End users whose households do not possess their own EMS can communicate with the platform using independent smart home gateways.