July 11, 2023
Journal Article

Distributed Ledger Technology for Fault Tolerant Distribution Grid Operations


This paper explores the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) to improve fault-tolerant grid operations by leveraging its core features as an immutable, decentralized ledger, a distributed, consensus-based agreement process, and a distributed state-replication engine. Distribution power systems deliver electricity to millions of customers; however, they are susceptible to various threats that can result in customer interruptions. These include faults caused by adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, vegetation growth, equipment failure, and malicious attacks. To minimize the effects of these faults, fault-handling approaches rely on network knowledge to isolate affected areas and reconnect unaffected areas, reducing the number of affected customers while maintaining safety. Here, we present a trusted data-sharing architecture that enables independent, distributed actors to reconstruct the pre-fault system state by enabling distributed resources to make appropriate decisions with limited network/system information. Although the process requires some data sharing between switch-delimited areas, the approach limits the amount of private information shared, preserving customers' privacy and business-sensitive information. We include three use cases that form a foundation for third parties to develop functional solutions that can eventually be deployed in the field. The gross error detection method used within switch-delimited areas can identify sensor errors and accurately detect circuit breaker states. The evaluation of possible reconnection while preserving data ownership resulted in a voltage magnitude difference smaller than 0.001% from the OpenDSS power flow solution that has full system knowledge, which is below the expected power flow tolerance. The approach offers a promising opportunity for improving fault-tolerant distribution grid operations.

Published: July 11, 2023


Bereta dos Reis F., M.I. Borkum, M. Mukherjee, and D.J. Sebastian Cardenas. 2023. Distributed Ledger Technology for Fault Tolerant Distribution Grid Operations. IEEE Access 11. PNNL-SA-184904. doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3287831