The Grid Singularity Energy Exchange Decentralised Implementation: Node & Storage System Component Published

Grid Singularity
6 min readJun 26, 2023

Added Value of Distributed Energy Management

The potential of blockchain technology, now more comprehensively termed web3, as a decentralised technology to manage increasingly distributed energy markets more transparently and effectively, ensuring a higher degree of accountability, inclusivity and equity, has been a key motivation behind Grid Singularity’s open-source development. Recognised innovator, Grid Singularity has been established by pioneering energy market and blockchain professionals, including the cofounders of Ethereum and Polkadot, who engaged a talented and diverse team of energy design thinkers and developers.

On 27 January 2017, Grid Singularity co-founded the Energy Web Foundation with the Rocky Mountain Institute to enable shared standards and systemic adoption of decentralised technology to accelerate the energy transition, supporting the creation of Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus mechanism and additional features for the first energy efficient industry blockchain platform (Energy Web Chain was launched in June 2019, based upon the PoA Tobalaba test network operated in 2017–2018). Closely following the Polkadot development since the onset, Energy Web announced in June 2023 that it will evolve into a Polkadot parachain. In the same spirit, Grid Singularity has been building the decentralised implementation of its energy exchange platform using Substrate, aiming to launch the future deployment on Polkadot-based Energy Web chain.

While the Grid Singularity Exchange does not require blockchain technology to operate energy marketplaces (see the current implementation here), its decentralised version (GSy DEX) enables a more optimal energy market design, deriving a multitude of benefits, directly or by interacting with complementary blockchain-based solutions, including Energy Web’s decentralised identity access management for energy assets and related open-source tools of the Energy Web Digital Spine toolkit, as well as Energy Web Green Proofs, a customisable solution for registering and tracking low-carbon products and their attributes throughout complex supply chains.

Fig 1. Illustration of a modular, bottom-up energy marketplace © Grid Singularity Pte Ltd.

Substrate-Based GSy DEX System Components & Design Principles

Substrate allows modular business logic to be built directly in the blockchain based on components called pallets, where each pallet can represent different functionality, such as smart contracts, storage, auctions, and more, facilitating a high and secure transaction throughput. The first GSy DEX feature developed and published as part of the Grid Singularity Exchange open-source GPL v.3 licence code base, is the GSy Node with a storage pallet that provides immutable storage of executed transactions. This is the backbone of the exchange platform, consisting of two main parts:

  1. Client with external node services handling network activities such as peer discovery, managing transaction requests, reaching consensus with peers, and responding to remote procedure calls (RPC).
  2. Custom runtime, containing the business logic for executing the state transition functions of the blockchain. The custom runtime is designed to improve scalability and security, avoiding and mitigating multiple blockchain attack types more effectively than by using smart contracts or a generalised virtual machine.

The GSy DEX is currently available in the form of simulated transactions, intended for developers interested in contributing and/or building complementary features. Blockchain code can also optionally be enabled on simulations running locally with the backend code base. Full blockchain deployment will be enabled once the following GSy DEX System Components are completed, with current development in part supported by the European Union’s FEDECOM project:

  • GSy Node, described above, with instructions for installation, operation. and co-development, available here.
  • GSy DEX Matching Engine, responsible for identifying suitable matches for energy supply and demand based on the participants’ preferences and market conditions, facilitating seamless and optimised exchange clearance (in development) and GSy Matching API (developed in Python; Rust version to be released with the Engine);
  • GSy DEX Execution Engine, performing the execution or rejection of the trade securely, transparently and in accordance with the agreed terms (in development);
  • GSy DEX Analytics Engine, which collects and processes live trading data (bids, offers, trades) and related energy asset information, providing valuable insights and market intelligence to the exchange platform users and/or operators by generating key performance indicators (in development);
  • GSy DEX API Off-Chain Storage, intended to store various types of data that are crucial to the platform’s operation but do not need to be recorded on the blockchain, thereby enhancing scalability and efficiency, structured in four subcomponents: Grid Topology Storage, Measurement Storage, Trades Storage and Order Book Storage (in development), and
  • GSy DEX API Gateway, facilitating user access to the platform’s features, submission of energy orders, and retrieval of key performance indicators, including the trade volume, as well as current and historical asset data (e.g. energy consumption / production, traded energy). The GSy DEX API Gateway also fosters community engagement and collaboration by allowing third-party developers to build and integrate complementary applications and services (in development).

The Grid Singularity Exchange decentralised implementation (GSy DEX) aims to create a robust, secure, and efficient platform for energy trading in a decentralised environment by leveraging blockchain and advanced distributed runtime functionalities. The GSy DEX is designed to further optimise energy consumption and generation, promote peer-to-peer energy trading, and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient energy infrastructure.

The GSy DEX is designed around a set of key principles that guide its development and ensure that it meets the requirements of a modern, efficient, and secure energy trading platform. These design principles are aligned with the use of the Substrate framework for the development of the distributed ledger combined with the definition of a set of complementary ancillary services.

  1. Modularity: The GSy DEX is built on a modular structure, enabling each component to be developed, tested, and maintained independently. This modularity simplifies the development process and allows for easy integration of new features, modules, or services in the future.
  2. Scalability: The GSy DEX is designed to scale horizontally, accommodating the growing number of participants, transactions, and data. The use of Substrate allows for a highly scalable and efficient distributed ledger, while the ancillary services can also scale independently to handle increased throughput.
  3. Interoperability: The GSy DEX promotes the use of open standards, protocols, and APIs to facilitate seamless integration with other systems, platforms, and technologies in the energy sector. This approach enables the GSy DEX to easily interact with other energy management systems, IoT devices, and related infrastructure and applications.
  4. Security: Ensuring the security and integrity of the GSy DEX is a top priority. The Substrate framework provides robust security features, including strong cryptographic algorithms and a proven consensus mechanism. In addition, the ancillary services and communication protocols must be designed with security best practices in mind, including encryption, access control, and secure data storage.
  5. Decentralisation: The GSy DEX leverages the power of blockchain technology to enable a fully decentralised system. This approach eliminates the need for a central authority, ensuring a transparent, secure, and efficient energy trading platform that is less susceptible to manipulation or control by any single entity.
  6. Flexibility: The GSy DEX is designed to be adaptable and capable of incorporating new technologies, innovations, and evolving market requirements. This flexibility is achieved through the use of modular components, extensible APIs, and a development process that encourages innovation and experimentation.
  7. Usability: The user experience is an essential aspect of the GSy DEX. The GSy DEX should be easy to use and accessible to a wide range of users, including energy producers, consumers, grid operators, and regulators. The user interfaces and APIs are designed with simplicity, efficiency, and intuitiveness in mind.

The GSy DEX powers Symbiotic Energy Markets, concept developed by Grid Singularity with a view of combining multi-attribute double-sided auctions, graph representations of the energy grid and the decentralised computation and verification enabled by blockchain. In the envisaged consumer-centric market design, spot, futures, settlement, and balancing markets are intertwined through the use of time slots, allowing market-driven pricing and accurate accounting of delivered energy. Individuals can optimise for their own multi-attribute objectives (e.g. green energy source, reduced energy bill, preferred trading partner) through Degrees of Freedom in the multi-attribute double auction with dynamic pricing. The grid is represented as a weighted graph, offering grid operators efficient management tools and allowing energy communities to interconnect and trade. The complexity of the matching algorithm is decoupled from the verification of transactions, with matching facilitated by third party matching algorithm providers, termed “mycos”, enabling the exchange itself to operate on a blockchain. New energy market participants are to be rewarded for providing valuable services such as data and algorithms, while the roles of established market participants (aggregators, grid operators, utilities, and regulators) converge towards the individual and the community.

We continue to build an inclusive, efficient, accountable and secure energy exchange, fostering open source innovation and ecosystem collaboration, to empower the individual and safeguard the environment.

Authored by the Grid Singularity team: Spyridon Tzavikas, Ewald Hesse, Ana Trbovich, Felice Rocchitelli and Fatuma Ali-Will.

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Grid Singularity

Engineering open source software that simulates and operates grid-aware energy exchanges, creating local marketplaces that interconnect to form a smart grid