Utility Integration Solutions has announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop the Open Automated Demand Response specification into an open source platform for use in smart grid applications.

The current OpenADR specification defines a communications interface protocol that can allow utilities to automate management of end-use energy loads, or demand response. Berkeley Labs has conducted OpenADR research for more than five years through its Demand Response Research Center. The joint project with UISOL is being administered by its Environmental Energy Technology and Computing Research divisions. The California Energy Commission and UISOL are co-funding the project.

The project is intended to transition OpenADR from its current published specification version 1.0 status to an open source implementation that can be offered in the public domain for further research, development and distribution in the utility, controls and buildings industries.

OpenADR is being developed in parallel with the "Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework" project coordinated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST was tasked by Congress with developing a system to achieve interoperability of smart grid devices and systems through passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.

UISOL will build an example client and server of the currently published OpenADR specification version 1.0 and conduct demonstration and simulation testing from Dec. 2009 through March 2010. Upon completion, UISOL will deliver a toolkit that includes an executable Microsoft Windows-based server and client, source code that can be compiled by third parties, and user documentation.