Dominik Engel Holds Keynote at DACH+ Conference

Mid of October a delegation of CSE-researchers travelled to Oldenburg to participate in the annual DACH+ Conference on Energy Informatics. Dominik Engel and Günther Eibl contributed with a keynote and a paper presentation, respectively.

In his keynote, Dominik Engel, head of the CSE, addressed the question if cyber defense of future energy systems is a lost cause, as the systems are perceived as too complex to be secured properly. He reviewed current threats and trends in cyber security and discussed the state of the art in counter-measures, including new approaches such as blockchain technology.

Dominik Engel held a keynote on whether cyber defense of future energy systems is a lost cause

Günther Eibl nominated for best paper award

Together with Kaibin Bao and Hartmut Schmeck from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as well as Daniel Bernau and Philip Grassal from SAP, CSE researcher Prof. (FH) Dr. Günther Eibl published the paper The Influence of Differential Privacy on Short Term Electric Load Forecasting which was presented at the conference and among the top four shortlisted for the best paper award.

In this paper they evaluated whether using smart metering data provides an actual benefit for the energy provider to refine the forecast of domestic loads of their customers while preserving their privacy. They examined a methodology on how to collect the necessary data in smaller zones to reach more accurate forecasts for the bigger balancing group without weakening the data privacy protection. This was done by applying the differential privacy technology, in which privacy is preserved by adding an accurately defined noise to each small zone. Results showed that the three well-documented load forecasting approaches that were used are variously susceptible to noise. For one forecasting approach, however, reasonable utility was reached while providing a strong privacy guarantee.

  • [PDF] [DOI] G. Eibl, K. Bao, P. Grassal, D. Bernau, and H. Schmeck, “The influence of differential privacy on short term electric load forecasting,” Energy Informatics, vol. 1, iss. 1, p. 93–113, 2018.
    author={Eibl, G{\"u}nther
    and Bao, Kaibin
    and Grassal, Philip-William
    and Bernau, Daniel
    and Schmeck, Hartmut},
    title= {The influence of differential privacy on short term electric load forecasting},
    journal= {Energy Informatics},
    year= {2018},
    month= {Oct},
    abstract={There has been a large number of contributions on privacy-preserving smart metering with Differential Privacy, addressing questions from actual enforcement at the smart meter to billing at the energy provider. However, exploitation is mostly limited to application of cryptographic security means between smart meters and energy providers. We illustrate along the use case of privacy preserving load forecasting that Differential Privacy is indeed a valuable addition that unlocks novel information flows for optimization. We show that (i) there are large differences in utility along three selected forecasting methods, (ii) energy providers can enjoy good utility especially under the linear regression benchmark model, and (iii) households can participate in privacy preserving load forecasting with an individual membership inference risk <60{\%}, only 10{\%} over random guessing.},
    pdf = {},

In 2019, the renowned DACH+ Energy Informatics conference will take place at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (SUAS).

Günther Eibl presenting his paper shortlisted for the best paper award

The CSE delegation: Günther Eibl, Judith Schwarzer and Dominik Engel (left to right)

ComForEn Conference on Blockchains for the Energy Systems

Blockchains for the Energy System was the topic of this year’s Symposium on Communications for Energy Systems (ComForEn) hosted by the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences from October 1st to 2nd 2018.

Center for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE) researcher Dr. Fabian Knirsch presented the blockchain-pilot Prochain. This FFG project analyzes the potential and the challenges of blockchain technology in the distribution system, as well as the degree of customer participation.

Dr. Fabian Knirsch presented the CSE project Prochain at ComForEN

The presentations were followed by an intensive discussion of current research projects, including Prochain as well as the CSE project VirtueGrid lead by DI Armin Veichtlbauer.

The ComForEN symposium brings together energy and information technology experts from science and industry to discuss emerging topics in the context of current Austrian smart grids research projects. The yearly event is an initiative from the Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH and the Austrian Union for Electrical Engineering.

ComForEN conference proceedings (in German)
Conference Website:

CSE Researchers attend Lorentz Workshop on InVivo Software Analytics

Günther Eibl, Andreas Unterweger and Fabian Knirsch were invited to the 2018 Lorentz Workshop on InVivo Software Analytics in Leiden, The Netherlands.
The scope of this workshop included software testing, requirements engineering and blockchains. Researchers from different fields collaborated and worked in break-out sessions on future topics for research that spans multiple domains.
Andreas Unterweger and Fabian Knirsch from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics presented their latest research on Privacy-Preserving Operation of Blockchain Technology in the Smart Grid User Domain. The talk presented teir work on privacy-preserving tariff matching protocols, privacy-preserving EV charging and the blockchain implementation for sharing portions of energy generated from photo voltaic power plants in residential households. Fruitful discussions emerged from the cross-domain knowledge transfer.
The Lorentz Center in Leiden ( hosts international workshops after a rigorous review of proposals in a scientific committee. Workshop proposals should foster new collaborations in otherwise diverse groups of researchers.

Twitter stream:

Demand-Response at INDIN 2018

The University of Porto, home of the celebrated Port Wine, hosted the 16th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN`2018). International researchers, academics and practitioners presented their work related to industrial informatics and their applications. The Special Session Advanced ICT and Control Approaches for Intelligent Energy Systems was a good opportunity for Judith Schwarzer to show her Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model.

For more details, see:

  • [PDF] [DOI] J. Schwarzer, D. Engel, and S. Lehnhoff, “Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model,” in International Conference on Industrial Informatics, Porto, Portugal, 2018, pp. 680-685.
    address = {Porto, Portugal},
    author = {Schwarzer, Judith and Engel, Dominik and Lehnhoff, Sebastian},
    booktitle = {{International Conference on Industrial Informatics}},
    month = {7},
    publisher = {{IEEE}},
    pages = {680-685},
    keywords = {demand response;user model;structural agent analysis;agent based simulation},
    doi = {10.1109/INDIN.2018.8472021},
    ISSN = {2378-363X},
    title = {Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model},
    year = {2018},
    pdf = {},

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.