Blockchain technology has become the strongest outlet of new technology revolution. On the afternoon of October 24, the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee carried out the 18th collective study on the current situation and trend of blockchain technology development, and clearly proposed to take blockchain as an important breakthrough for independent innovation of core technology, clarify the main direction, increase investment, strive to conquer a number of key core technologies, and accelerate the innovation and development of blockchain technology and industry.
During this period, “blockchain” has become a hot word of public opinion. Xia Zhenlai, researcher of Enterprise Management Research Institute of China Southern Power Grid Energy Institute, received an exclusive interview with this newspaper, introduced the issues related to blockchain, and elaborated his deep thinking and vision on the application of blockchain technology in power grid company to help enterprise development.
China Southern Power Grid news: what is blockchain?
Xia Zhenlai: blockchain is a new application mode of distributed data storage, point-to-point transmission, consensus mechanism, encryption algorithm and other computer technologies. Blockchain system is composed of data layer, network layer, consensus layer, incentive layer, contract layer and application layer. From the perspective of science and technology, blockchain involves many scientific and technological issues such as mathematics, cryptography, Internet and computer programming. From the perspective of application, blockchain is a distributed shared ledger and database, which is decentralized, tamper proof, traceable, collective maintenance, open and transparent, and multi node interactive sharing. These features ensure the “honesty” and “transparency” of the blockchain, and lay the foundation for creating trust in the blockchain.
China Southern Power Grid news: what’s the use of blockchain?
Xia Zhenlai: the rich application scenarios of blockchain are basically based on the fact that blockchain can solve the problem of information asymmetry and realize the cooperation, trust and concerted action among multiple agents. The “tamper proof” feature of blockchain provides a solution to the “certificate keeping” problem in the economic and social development, and provides a new idea for the realization of social credit reference; The “distributed” feature of blockchain can break through the “data barrier” between departments and realize information and data sharing; The formation of “consensus mechanism” in blockchain can solve the problem of information asymmetry and realize the transformation from “information internet” to “trust Internet”; Through “smart contract”, blockchain can realize the cooperation trust among multiple agents, thus greatly expanding the scope of human cooperation. In general, blockchain creates value by creating trust. It can ensure that all information is digitized and shared in real time, so as to improve the efficiency of collaboration and reduce the cost of communication, so that multi-party entities with high degree of dispersion, long management chain and many links can still cooperate effectively. Blockchain technology will provide people with more intelligent, convenient and high-quality public services in the fields of education, employment, pension, precision poverty alleviation, health care, energy and power, commodity anti-counterfeiting, food safety, social welfare and social assistance. It can be said that where there is data, there is a place for blockchain.
China Southern Power Grid news: how about the development of blockchain in China?
Xia Zhenlai: since its birth in 2008, blockchain has gone through the stages of bitcoin introduction, concept hype, scenario trial and multi-party exploration. Now it has risen to the national level, gradually moving from virtual to real in various fields and entering the stage of layout practice. In terms of basic research, according to the 2019 global blockchain enterprise invention patent ranking released by incopat global technology analysis and operation platform, China’s blockchain enterprises account for 63% of the top 100 enterprises in the list, ranking first, and China’s blockchain has a solid foundation for research; In terms of industrial ecology, China is also stepping up the construction of industrial ecological system, and has carried out the formulation of industry standards; In terms of application, blockchain technology has been extended to finance, energy, supply chain, public services, digital rights, insurance, public welfare and other fields, and a large number of blockchain projects have begun to lay out on a large scale. For example, in August this year, State Grid blockchain Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. was officially established. Focusing on blockchain technology research, product development, public service platform construction and operation, the company aims to build a public technical means for the construction of ubiquitous power Internet of things, realize the super link of Internet of things, the security defense line of fair market transaction, and the credit guarantee of digital economy.
China Southern Power Grid news: what is the practical significance of blockchain for China Southern Power Grid?
Xia Zhenlai: after research and analysis, blockchain can play a role in the following three aspects. First of all, improve the company’s customer service level. Customers’ energy and power services present the trend of clean, diversified, personalized and experiential, which challenges the traditional power marketing service mode. Blockchain technology helps to solve the above problems. For example, the electronic contract based on blockchain can ensure the authenticity and credibility of user information from the source through its intelligent contract technology, and help distributed energy users access to the Internet and new energy access system; Using the characteristics of multi-node interaction, openness and transparency of blockchain, we can solve the pain points such as the real transmission of demand side response information, real-time response contract and multi-agent linkage. Secondly, improve the operation and management ability of power grid companies. Blockchain technology has a lot of space in promoting data sharing, optimizing business processes, reducing operating costs and improving collaboration efficiency; In the process of power business, blockchain technology can reduce the repeated workload of employees, improve work efficiency, and improve quality and efficiency; It can also reduce the communication cost of cross collaboration business and improve work efficiency. For example, there are two major pain points in the company’s management: one is the difficulty in big data application, and the other is the difficulty in department coordination. The power grid company has a large amount of valuable data such as power grid production and operation, customer service and electricity trading, but it does not play its due value due to the lack of technology and management means. Using blockchain technology, cloud computing and artificial intelligence technology, the big data of the power grid company can be well stored, managed and applied again, The future has inestimable value for the development of the company. In addition, the power grid company has been using the line block management, with strong professional ability, but weak collaborative ability. The ability of using blockchain technology to decentralize, trace the whole process, traceability, openness and transparency, and multi node interaction and sharing can force all lines and levels to achieve deeper and wider collaboration, which has practical significance for promoting the implementation of the company’s strategy and planning. Thirdly, help the company to accelerate innovation and development and realize transformation and upgrading. The company proposed to transform to smart grid operators, energy industry value chain integrators and energy ecosystem service providers, and issued relevant guidance.
China Southern Power Grid news: how does the blockchain integrate with the development strategy of China Southern Power Grid Corporation?
Xia Zhenlai: in 2018, the Research Report blockchain: from theory to practice released by Goldman Sachs listed seven application cases, the second of which is that the United States is using blockchain to rebuild distributed smart grid. It can be predicted that the blockchain will change the power production relationship. In the next few decades, the power grid will evolve from the existing centralized public utility model to the direction of integrating more decentralized resources, real-time quotation system and more closely matching demand and good supply. The core of the evolution is through smart meters, intelligent equipment, smart power supply, and so on The combination of renewable energy and energy storage to realize the modernization of power grid will produce tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of decentralized nodes, which can not only send and receive data, but also execute P2P transactions. At the same time, with the popularization of platform ecological business model, the business world is increasingly showing the trend of “centrization”, “decentralization” and “de boundary”. Blockchain naturally has the attributes of “decentralization, full transparency, multi node interaction and sharing”, which is indispensable for promoting the integration of energy industry value chain and building energy ecological service system. Specifically, by analyzing the pain points of the energy industry value chain, we can find out the most worthy reform points in the industry, and how to determine the links that must be “maintained and enhanced” in the energy industry value chain, so as to build a joint (industry) blockchain to manage the energy ecosystem, and constantly “eliminate” the information blockers and the information barriers in the energy industry value chain The value monopolist and the cost falsely high should build an energy industry ecosystem with cross-border integration, flexible collaboration, endless growth and rich prosperity. For example, using blockchain technology, household appliance enterprises and power grid can achieve the trusted sharing of household appliance data on the premise of protecting their data rights and security. Based on more complete data, on the one hand, it can further promote the intelligent level of household appliances and improve customer experience; On the other hand, household appliances can respond to the application load demand in time to achieve better energy saving and emission reduction, and customers can also get certain benefits from the grid, such as energy saving subsidies. In this scenario, the mutual trust mechanism based on blockchain technology better solves the problems of customer privacy protection and mutual trust and sharing of household appliance manufacturers and power grid data. It can be said that through the application of blockchain technology, the three parties can get what they need and win-win.
China Southern Power Grid news: in the process of using blockchain, what aspects need attention?
Xia Zhenlai: from the perspective of practical progress, the application of blockchain technology in commerce is still in the early development stage of layout, pilot and testing, and needs further development and improvement in safety, standards, supervision and other aspects. First, it is restricted by the current concept, system and law. The characteristics of decentralized, self-management and collective maintenance of blockchain overturn the original management mode of enterprises, change people’s production and living habits, and need new theoretical preparation and institutional arrangements. Second, at the technical level, blockchain still needs to make breakthroughs. Compared with Internet technology, people can use specific applications such as browser and app to browse, transfer, exchange and apply information. However, blockchain obviously lacks such breakthrough applications and faces high-tech barriers. In addition, because the blockchain needs to carry all the information generated before the replication, the block writing information will increase infinitely, and the problems of privacy leakage, information storage, capacity management and so on need to be solved. Third, competitive technological challenges. For example, in the field of communication, quantum technology can also achieve safe and efficient communication, and has made great progress in recent years, which has a strong competitive advantage for blockchain technology.
In the face of the concept and case of blockchain in full swing, the company should not only open and inclusive, systematic research, but also calm research and risk prevention. In line with the principle of combining reality, paying attention to practicality and producing actual results, the company should timely, moderately and apply the blockchain technology to assist enterprise innovation, development, transformation and upgrading（ (Wang Yaqian) Dialogue guest: Xia Zhenlai (researcher, Institute of enterprise management, China Southern Power Grid Energy Research Institute)
Blockchain + energy: efficiency and security
All industries are actively exploring the road of digital transformation, and the energy industry is no exception. Energy digitization has begun to shine.
The digital development mode of “blockchain + energy” is conducive to reducing transaction cost and changing energy transaction mode. Reduce the transaction credit cost and improve the security of the transaction. At present, governments and enterprises at home and abroad have done active exploration in this area.
Blockchain changes the way of energy trading
The energy point-to-point transaction of blockchain is the main application scenario of blockchain in the energy industry. The “decentralized” feature of blockchain technology realizes the point-to-point transaction. Without a third-party platform, the transaction data will be permanently stored in the blockchain system, and once the transaction is reached, it cannot be withdrawn.
This mode can reduce transaction links, greatly reduce transaction costs, improve transaction efficiency, and further promote the development of energy trading. Distributed energy power trading, carbon emission trading and electric vehicle trading are all the current application scenarios of blockchain in the energy industry.
In the distributed energy power transaction, the generation and consumption are measured by smart meter. The transaction and payment business will be realized in the form of digital currency through the control of smart contract. Energy producers and energy consumers (power producers and power consumers) can be directly linked, and the third party such as power companies or agents can be eliminated, which greatly reduces the transaction cost.
The United States, Australia and other countries have used blockchain technology for distributed generation power trading on a small scale. For example, lo3energy, an American energy company, cooperates with Siemens digital grid and consus systems, a bitcoin development company, to build an interactive grid platform, transactive grid, based on blockchain system. The platform architecture has no central node, every green energy producer and consumer can freely conduct point-to-point transactions on the platform without relying on a third party, and the transaction cost is greatly reduced.
Based on the blockchain technology, the renewable energy trading platform can track and report the way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid double counting, which is conducive to improving carbon emissions trading. The world’s first energy blockchain laboratory, established in Beijing, has launched the energy blockchain main chain and issued a digital asset – “carbon ticket”, which is based on certified carbon emission reduction (CCER), and can be directly used as a settlement unit in blockchain applications.
In the field of electric vehicles, the electronic invoice of blockchain is used to synchronize the invoice information to the tax authorities in real time. It completely relies on the algorithm, the whole process is complete and traceable, and the information can not be tampered with. It effectively avoids false invoices, simplifies the process, and greatly reduces the transaction cost.
Blockchain helps solve security and credit problems
In the past, it was impossible for two people who didn’t know and trust each other to reach cooperation. They had to rely on a third party to sign various types of contracts to ensure the safety of the transaction. Through blockchain technology, encryption algorithm and decryption algorithm, the mutual trust transfer behavior can be completed without any intermediary participation. There is no need to transfer the right of trust and authentication to centralized institutions or a large number of third-party intermediaries.
One of the benefits of using blockchain in the field of energy is that it can carry out digital management of energy, improve the security of transaction and reduce the cost of transaction credit.
For example, in China, State Grid e-commerce Co., Ltd., the largest energy e-commerce enterprise at present, has built a judicial level trusted blockchain public service platform, which has participated in the formulation of the first national standard for blockchain, and has realized the application of blockchain technology in multiple scenarios, such as power integral cash, photovoltaic contract signing, bill payment, electronic invoice, etc.
In August this year, a chemical enterprise in Sichuan province paid an electricity bill of 2 million yuan through the power bill trading service platform of State Grid e-commerce Co., Ltd. Relying on the blockchain technology, the payment process realizes the automatic inspection and audit of data and information such as electricity charges and bills. It can be said that when power encounters blockchain, many different kinds of data realize “mutual trust”.
In the oil and gas industry, the use of blockchain technology has also greatly increased the security of bulk energy transactions. According to Lin Song, engineer of China Petroleum Pipeline science and technology research center, “the current oil and gas industry is gradually digitalized and intelligent. From oil and gas exploration and exploitation, pipeline transportation monitoring to consumer demand management, the encryption algorithm of blockchain can make all links of logistics transportation more secure, thus greatly reducing the possibility of fraud in international trade.” In December 2017, Sinochem Group successfully completed the first domestic pilot block chain crude oil import transaction for crude oil import business from the Middle East to China. All media reporter Sun Yixuan of Nanwang media
Let private charging pile radiate new vitality
At present, with the proposal of the national new energy development strategy, the development of new energy vehicles is accelerating, and the automobile industry is facing a huge change. The extensive exploration of blockchain technology in the energy field can help the formation of new industry of electric vehicles.
As of June 2019, the number of new energy vehicles in China has reached 3.44 million, accounting for 1.37% of the total number of vehicles, an increase of 31.87% compared with the end of last year. As a large number of new energy vehicles are used, the problem of charging difficulty also follows. According to statistics, 80% of the existing electric vehicles are for private daily use, and private car owners are more sensitive to the charging site and charging price, and pursue more convenient charging methods. However, the existing fixed-point public charging pile can not meet its growing charging demand. Based on this, sharing private charging pile will be an important means to solve the problem of electric private car travel in the future.
Under the existing technology, there are many difficulties in private charging pile sharing: it is difficult to exchange data between different charging pile operators, the information of “people” is not transparent, the supervision mechanism is missing, and there is no unified and standardized charging standard, which leads to users and pile owners not dare to trade easily and worry about getting nothing. In short, the fundamental reason why private piles can’t be shared is that the two sides of the transaction have no sense of trust. But the emergence of blockchain breaks this deadlock, because it is essentially a “machine” to build a trust mechanism, which can be used as a technical means to solve the problem of shared charging.
As a decentralized, whole chain visible and all node trusted distributed accounting technology, blockchain can connect different charging operators with the blockchain platform through a simple interface to build a charging service platform. The service platform stores the personal encrypted information of users and pile owners. Before the transaction, both parties can download and decrypt the data, Understand each other’s credit degree to ensure the smooth development of the transaction.
Blockchain also has the feature that data cannot be tampered with, which can solve the concerns of stakeholders that “information is not true”. When both parties fully recognize and confirm the execution of the transaction, blockchain will form a multi-party supervision and unchangeable smart contract. After the completion of the transaction, the natural payment characteristics of the blockchain platform can ensure that each fund can not be transferred to the designated account. According to the assumption, sharing private charging piles is considered to be one of the most suitable energy fields for blockchain technology.
In addition, the electric vehicle charging data collected by the blockchain can interact with the smart meter installed on the charging pile, and then share the charger speed, location and usage data with the huge customers in the power grid through the big data platform of the smart grid.
The smart meter blockchain module installed on the charging pile has a unique ID node. When the private car owner needs to use the charging pile, the smart meter can collect the power and location of the charging pile and push it to the car owner in real time. The user can monitor the real-time power and the usage of the charging pile through the mobile terminal. When the transaction occurs, the smart meter blockchain module will record all the power transaction data, the transaction time point and the personal identification of the power purchasing and charging parties, and upload the tamperable encrypted data to the power transaction monitoring platform to ensure that the point-to-point transaction basis is formed, and the data can be provided to the transaction party and the supervisor for reference.
The power transaction monitoring platform is set with a contract consensus layer, which sets a unified standard of transaction price, transaction quantity and transaction conditions. After the smart contract is generated, the platform will automatically identify the power transaction rules of the power buyer and the power seller within the scope of the blockchain network, and then use virtual currency or electronic currency for power transaction or settlement, so as to ensure that the transaction is reasonable, transparent and standardized. It can be seen that the data uploaded by smart meters will play an indispensable role in the application of blockchain technology to electric vehicle charging piles.
In a word, blockchain technology can not only increase the utilization rate of private charging piles and solve the problem of charging electric vehicles, but also promote the development of electric vehicles and realize energy conservation, emission reduction and energy transformation. In the future, sustainable development will no longer be a choice, and the effective application of blockchain technology will have a broad and far-reaching impact on various fields of energy in China.
Responsible editor; zl