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Joint Seminar Austria/Japan

Security and Resilience for P2P Energy Trading

Wider research context: Power grids are critical infrastructures which are currently undergoing radical changes: from huge, centrally operated networks to distributed energy resources (DERs), creating the so-called “prosumers” who exchange energy and money via peer-to-peer (P2P) trading. Such novel paradigms of energy production and trade heavily rely on ICTs to function, namely smart grids and blockchain technologies.

This raises information security issues not only for, e.g., one or two localised power cells, but has fundamental implications for the entire power grid with whom DERs are of course connected. The security of digitalised legacy systems, for example in production, has been a major eld of work in information security for some time now. Nowadays, physical structures can be compromised and damaged through cyberattacks, which is highly critical in the context of power supply – adversaries can easily use software vulnerabilities to cause large-scale blackouts. Hence, security is of the utmost importance; the same goes for the overall resilience of the power grid, since failures cannot be completely avoided in such highly complex systems.

Our objective is therefore to apply long-standing information security experience to the rather novel eld of DERs and P2P energy trading in order to create secure, resilient and sustainable systems for future power supply.

We furthermore opt for an interdisciplinary, international, early and thus original approach, since we are convinced that complex, socio-technical systems such as the power grid cannot be viewed from a purely technical perspective only. We will therefore gather researchers from the elds of information security, blockchain, electrical engineering, resilience and Science and Technology Studies in order to introduce a holistic approach to the eld of DERs and P2P energy trading. In addition, regional differences and expertise in how a power grid is built and operated (e.g. Japan’s history of dealing with natural disasters and their consequences) might yield novel insights and future research trajectories.

The primary researchers involved are Univ.-Prof. Dr. Edgar Weippl, University of Vienna, and
Prof. Keisuke Tanaka, Tokyo Institute of Technology.