Human society is facing the grand challenges of climate change and ever-increasing energy demand. These challenges require us to reshape our energy generation, transmission and consumption patterns. Electrical power systems need to be adapted to operate in a more efficient and sustainable manner – for example, accommodate more renewable energy to meet the global and national emission reduction targets towards carbon-neutral economies. In this context, the concept of smart grids was proposed in the early 21st century, setting up the strategic goal to develop next-generation power systems.
The power distribution network central to smart grids is characterised by high penetration of distributed renewable resources, flexible loads and advanced sensing infrastructure. The transformation from a centralised to distributed energy generation pattern has led to the emergence of energy prosumers (producers and consumers), who are capable of generating and consuming energy simultaneously – for example, a building equipped with solar panels. This naturally raises the need for establishing greater decentralisation in the power system and support for energy trading mechanisms that are secure, maintain participant privacy and foster energy economics. Our research program is focused on systems at the convergence of power systems – blockchain, Internet-of-things and machine learning – that increase uptake and effectiveness of distributed and renewable energy sources.