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OpenADR Alliance Begins to Advance OpenADR as Smart Grid Standard

The OpenADR Alliance, a nonprofit corporation created to foster the development, adoption, and compliance of a Smart Grid standard known as Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) held its first members' meeting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), on January 20 and 21, 2011.

OpenADR logo

Automated demand response is a set of pre-programmed steps in a building or industrial facility that automatically triggers to reduce peak power use when the electricity grid is in danger of falling out of supply-demand balance or when real-time electricity prices are high. OpenADR is a communications specification that makes it possible for facilities managers to implement automated demand response (AutoDR) by providing a standard set of Internet signals for describing the state of the grid and actuating a demand response.

OpenADR was developed by Berkeley Lab researchers and industrial partners through the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC), which is funded by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program.

In May 2010, following eight years of development, OpenADR became one of 16 Smart Grid standards supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Smart Grid Interoperability Standards effort. Open standards are supported by market stakeholders because they lower costs, both for consumers and the utilities adopting these technological innovations.

Berkeley Lab, a founding member of the OpenADR Alliance, hosted more than 50 people from 32 companies, government agencies, utilities, and research institutions. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and Honeywell are the other founding members.

Michael Gravely, manager of energy systems research at the California Energy Commission, delivered the keynote address. He noted that meeting the 33 percent renewable energy target in California by 2020 will require the state to use technologies like OpenADR and energy storage to balance the cyclical nature of solar and wind generation and integrate renewable power on the grid.

"I was very impressed with the level of industry support shown by those attending the first OpenADR Alliance meeting," said Mary Anne Piette, chair of the OpenADR Alliance and deputy head of the Building Technologies Department at Berkeley Lab. "Our members made significant progress identifying key goals and priorities for the Alliance, along with the formation of technical and marketing committees."

Technical committees were established to help move forward OpenADR's pathway to a Smart Grid standard and toward wider industry adoption. The group also began the process of setting up a conformance and testing program, so that members will eventually be able to submit products for testing and certification of compliance with OpenADR. "The OpenADR Alliance is an important milestone in bringing the OpenADR-compliant products to marketplace and in its wide-scale adoption," said Girish Ghatikar, the interim technical director of the OpenADR Alliance, and program manager at Berkeley Lab.

A newly formed technical committee is facilitating the development and transition to OpenADR 2.0. Feature sets and test cases for this new version of OpenADR will help establish a framework for the testing and certification program. The committee has discussed cooperation with various standards-setting organizations now working to establish Smart Grid standards, to allow technology and system suppliers, energy customers, and utilities and their regulators to maximize its benefits.

Although the definition of the Smart Grid varies, most in the field agree that a smart electrical grid incorporates sensors, physical control systems, and software in the buildings connected to the electricity grid, as well as on the grid itself, to maintain the grid's continuous operation. It does this by preventing or correcting problems in real time, as well as by reducing peak power use during high-congestion periods and by helping to maximize consumers' energy efficiency over a longer time horizon.

The Smart Grid allows its managers and users to understand its state of health from moment to moment, maximize efficient use of energy, participate effectively in utility load-shifting programs (in which the customer can delay energy use to periods when the price is lower in return for price breaks), and minimize energy bills.

—Allan Chen

For more information, contact:

  • Girish Ghatikar
  • (510) 486-6768

OpenADR Alliance

Demand Response Research Center

OpenADR Activities within LBNL

"OpenADR Specification to Ease Building Power Reductions" EETD News.

"Berkeley Lab Researchers Announce OpenADR Specification to Ease Saving Power in Buildings Through Demand Response" Berkeley Lab News Center.

OpenADR research is funded by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program.

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