Several smart grid industry organizations have announced the formation of the OpenADR Alliance, a nonprofit corporation created to foster the development, adoption and compliance of a standard known as Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR).

Auto-DR encourages businesses and homeowners to reduce their electricity consumption at critical “peak demand” times, or in response to changes in market price, by automating message delivery from the utility directly to the customer. OpenADR standardizes a message format used for Auto-DR so that dynamic price and reliability signals can be delivered in a uniform and interoperable data model among utilities, independent system operator and customer’s energy management and control systems.

The alliance says that OpenADR adoption will help accelerate implementation of smart grid technologies by enabling key benefits for utilities, vendors, consumers and other stakeholder groups by:

  • Lowering costs: Standardization will help lower production, service and maintenance costs for vendors, and ultimately, their utility customers. Lower costs will also accelerate technology innovation and enhance product choice.
  • Assuring compliance: Vendor technologies that conform to a uniform standard will reduce utility costs associated with compliance testing, integration and deployment, while creating more technology options for power companies exploring Auto-DR.
  • Improving reliability: Auto-DR has proven effective in achieving a more reliable and higher performing grid by helping shave peak electricity demand. Standardizing a message format will further improve interoperability, efficiency and reliability of Auto-DR systems.

Underscoring the effectiveness of this standard, more than 60 control vendors across the United States and internationally have already implemented OpenADR. However, the industry had lacked an organization responsible for the education, training, testing and certification needed to bring this technology to market.

The OpenADR Alliance will foster the collaboration necessary among industry stakeholders to ensure the rapid deployment of OpenADR -- a price-and reliability-based demand response communication specification. National standards work will be built upon the OpenADR specifications published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. OpenADR is being further developed through the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Smart Grid-standards effort, along with organizations including: Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the Utilities Communications Architecture International User’s Group (UCAIug), and the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB).