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New OpenADR Spec Will Boost Auto-Demand Response

Marianne Hedin — August 18, 2012

The long-awaited OpenADR 2.0a profile specification was launched on August 8. Expected to have a positive impact on the demand response (DR) market, especially automated DR (ADR), the new spec will spur the development and deployment of new OpenADR-certified smart grid technologies that utilities and grid operators across the world can use to facilitate and augment DR programs.  In particular, devices based on this new specification will operate on a lower-cost, faster, and more reliable and efficient communications system.  Using a common language (XML) and existing Internet technology, DR signals can be sent directly from a demand response automated server (DRAS) via a client to the building automation and control systems on customer sites.  Thanks to this two-way messaging capability between a DRAS, which publishes information, and a client that subscribes to the information, utilities, grid operators, and curtailment service providers (CSPs) will be able to manage peak demand and load shifting in an automated fashion.

OpenADR 2.0a is the first of three profile specifications that will be developed and tested using a standard data model based on the OASIS Energy Interoperation (EI) specification.  While the objective of the 2.0a specification is to support the simplest devices installed in commercial, industrial, and residential settings, future specifications will address more complex situations, such as dynamic pricing.  As such, further iterations will be able to address a much broader DR market that takes wholesale pricing into account.  The second spec, OpenADR 2.0b, is currently being developed by the OpenADR Alliance in coordination with the ISO/RTO Council to enable price-based DR.

Before the launch, OpenADR 2.0a  underwent numerous tests and refinements by various OpenADR members, such as Akuacom, a unit of Honeywell, EnerNOC, IPKeys Technologies, and Universal Devices.  Using a newly developed OpenADR Test Tool by QualityLogic, they have confirmed that the specification successfully interoperates with their respective products.  Going forward, this test tool will be used for all certification tests, including pretesting and development of new first-generation smart grid technologies.

OpenADR 2.0a will not only spur new design and development of standardized and interoperable products to help utilities, grid operators, and CSPs accelerate their implementations of ADR, but it will also enable full-scale implementation of OpenADR by lowering the cost of technology, thereby boosting adoption.  The OpenADR standard will eventually become an integral part of ADR implementations in the United States and in other countries where DR is taking root.

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