Recent years have witnessed an increasing interest in the blockchain technology, and many blockchain-based applications have been developed to take advantage of its decentralization, transparency, fault tolerance, and strong security. In the field of smart grids, a plethora of proposals have emerged to utilize blockchain for augmenting intelligent energy management, energy trading, security and privacy protection, microgrid management, and energy vehicles. Compared with traditional centralized approaches, blockchain-based solutions are able to exploit the advantages of blockchain to realize better functionality in smart grids. However, the blockchain technology itself has its disadvantages in low processing throughput and weak privacy protection. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to study how to integrate blockchain with smart grids in a more effective way so that the advantages of blockchain can be maximized and its disadvantages can be avoided. This article surveys the state-of-the-art solutions aiming to integrate the emergent blockchain technology with smart grids. The goal of this survey is to discuss the necessity of applying blockchain in different components of smart grids, identify the challenges encountered by current solutions, and highlight the frameworks and techniques used to integrate blockchain with smart grids. We also present thorough comparison studies among blockchain-based solutions for smart grids from different perspectives, with the aim to provide insights on integrating blockchain with smart grids for different smart grid management tasks. Finally, we list the current projects and initiatives demonstrating the current effort from the practice side. Additionally, we draw attention to open problems that have not yet been tackled by existing solutions, and point out possible future research directions.

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