CSE Master students attend USC

Two of our Master students are currently writing their Master’s Theses at the University of Southern California in LA. Together with our colleagues from USC, Eva is working on demand forecasting with machine learning and Stefan is working on intrusion detection for smart energy grids.

CSE Researchers Attend Summer School on Real-World Crypto and Privacy

The researchers Clemens Brunner, Fabian Knirsch and Andreas Unterweger
from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics are currently attending
the 5th Summer School on real-world crypto and privacy in Šibenik (Croatia).

International researchers from the fields of privacy and security give
talks, both on introductory and current topics in cryptography. The
first session, chaired by Joan Daemen, known for his contribution to the
widely used Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and the SHA-3 hash
function, gave an overview of symmetric cryptography.

Further topics were asymmetric cryptography and hardware security, which
has many applications in the field of Energy Informatics. The remaining
talks until Friday will cover state-of-the-art topics and advances in
fields like privacy and distributed ledgers.

from left to right: Clemens Brunner, Joan Daemen, Andreas Unterweger, Fabian Knirsch

Green Energy Cerfiticates presented at Event Horizon 2018

The utilization of blockchain technology in the energy domain is among the currently most discussed topics in the energy industry.
The Event Horizon 2018 is dedicated to explore and discuss the possibilities and challenge of blockchain technology in the energy domain and to provide a stage for connecting academia, industry, and startups in the field.

Among the 20 papers selected for presenting their work in the Academia Deep Dive Session, Clemens Brunner and Fabian Knirsch present their work on Green Energy Certificates. The proposed scheme allows customers in the smart grid to verify the certified origin of kWh and to verify that energy was produced sustainably from renewable resources. Both, utility providers and privately owned small power plants benefit form certified and verifiable power sources and customers benefit from traceable green energy produced from renewable resources such as solar, wind or water power.
The approach builds on a blockchain for permission-less, transparent, and decentralized verification of issued green energy certificates.

The possible applications of blockchain technology for use cases in the energy domain are also further explored in a joint FFG research project from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics together with Salzburg AG, Salzburg Netz GmbH and Verbund AG.

Application of blockchain technology

Salzburg industrialists, politicians and researchers met at the Industry Day of the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce and discussed how to strengthen Salzburg as a digital location.

Dominik Engel, expert for safe energy systems and research director of the CSE, gave a key-note presentation about the blockchain technology and the chances that it offers for digitalization. Being a software innovation, the new technology could have a significant impact on virtually all sectors of the economy.
“The blockchain is a tool for digitization, but not the solution to all problems,” explained Engel. In cooperation with Salzburg AG, Dominik Engel is currently testing a private blockchain for the exchange of energy at photovoltaic plants in Köstendorf.

From the perspective of the industry and politics, it is important to make Salzburg more visible as a research and IT location. The industry is already in the middle of the digital transformation, but needs to be better equipped in this regard. In particular, it will be important to win IT talents for Salzburg.


At this year’s NTMS conference in Paris, France, Fabian Knirsch presented the work of Andreas Unterweger, Fabian Knirsch, Dominik Engel and Christoph Leixnering about “Lessons Learned from Implementing a Privacy-Preserving Smart Contract in Ethereum”.

The authors present a real-world use case allowing customers in a diverse market to find optimum (cheap) energy tariffs. The privacy-preserving matching between customer forecasts and utility provider templates is implemented as a smart contract in the public Ethereum blockchain.

In this paper, we are the first to implement such a privacy-preserving protocol from the energy domain as a smart contract in Ethereum. We elaborate on and present our implementation as well as our practical findings, including more or less subtle traps and pitfalls.

Impact of network tariffs on household electricity

We are pleased to announce that our study on “Exploring the impact of network tariffs on household electricity expenditures using load profiles and socio-economic characteristics” has been published in Nature Energy.

Price structures in the electricity sector are currently in flux as a result of digital technology advancements that provide the power grid with distributed energy. To ensure a sustainable and economical use of alternative energy, it is necessary to understand the impact that price variation has on end-consumer consumption behaviour.

Cornelia Ferner and Dominik Engel from the CSE, together with experts from the Energieinstitut Linz studied consumer behaviour by evaluating the impact of different price structures on consumption patterns, using smart meter electric power consumption data from 765 Austrian households. Applying data analytic methods, the researchers showed that the consumption behaviour of households with lower income was more affected by daily price fluctuations. Another contributing factor is that lower income households do not have the resources to purchase programmable energy saving appliances and thereby reduce their peak electricity demand.

  • [DOI] V. Azarova, D. Engel, C. Ferner, A. Kollmann, and J. Reichl, “Exploring the impact of network tariffs on household electricity expenditures using load profiles and socio-economic characteristics,” Nature Energy, 2018.
    Abstract = {Growing self-generation and storage are expected to cause significant changes in residential electricity utilization patterns. Commonly applied volumetric network tariffs may induce imbalance between different groups of households and their respective contribution to recovering the operating costs of the grid. Understanding consumer behaviour and appliance usage together with socio-economic factors can help regulatory authorities to adapt network tariffs to new circumstances in a fair way. Here, we assess the effects of 11 network tariff scenarios on household budgets using real load profiles from 765 households. Thus we explore the possibly disruptive impact of applying peak-load-based tariffs on the budgets of households when they have been mainly charged for consumed volumes before. Our analysis estimates the change in household network expenditure for different combinations of energy, peak and fixed charges, and can help to design tariffs that recover the costs needed for the sustainable operation of the grid.},
    Author = {Azarova, Valeriya and Engel, Dominik and Ferner, Cornelia and Kollmann, Andrea and Reichl, Johannes},
    Doi = {10.1038/s41560-018-0105-4},
    Isbn = {2058-7546},
    Journal = {Nature Energy},
    Title = {Exploring the impact of network tariffs on household electricity expenditures using load profiles and socio-economic characteristics},
    Url = {https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-018-0105-4},
    Year = {2018},
    Note = {DOI 10.1038/s41560-018-0105-4.},

Smart Home Project

Victor, Erwan, Titouan, Nicolas and Jeroen are incoming students from Germany, France and Belgium (in picture with supervisor Norbert Egger).

They support research at the DSSE Domain Specific Systems Engineering group until June. In the project FREDOSAR, they develop a smart home app that can transfer confidential data from the web app to the smart home system.

We are very grateful for their help!

SGAM Toolbox for Smart Cities

Our researcher Christian Neureiter participated in a face-to-face meeting of the “IEC Systems Committee for Smart Cities” from January 31st until February 2nd in Germany (Dortmund).

The Committee’s scope is to foster the development of standards in the field of electrotechnology to help with the integration, interoperability and effectiveness of city systems.

Christian contributed some of our ideas from the field of Smart Grid engineering to the ongoing discussion in Working Group 3. This Working Group focuses on the development of a Smart City Reference Architecure model.

We are very proud to be a part of this community!

For detailed information see Christians presentation: “The SGAM Toolbox – Possible Adoption for SCRAM”.