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OpenADR 2.0 Standard Will Fuel Automated Demand Response

Marianne Hedin — April 27, 2012

Demand response programs to date have largely relied on a labor-intensive approach that has required operators in different customer sites to manually turn off lights, HVAC equipment, and other energy consuming systems to control peak demand and balance loads on the grid.  Automated demand response (Auto-DR) systems have become an important alternative to conventional DR by automating the communication and dispatch systems to respond to event and price signals from a utility, grid operator, or a curtailment services provider (CSP) – often in minutes or even seconds.  Although it has already been used by the utility industry for many years, it has not been widely deployed. However, with the upcoming launch of a non-proprietary, open communications standard for Auto-DR, referred to as OpenADR, this situation is likely to change.

Developed by the Demand Response Research Center (DRRC) of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), OpenADR is designed to be a low-cost, speedy, and reliable communications infrastructure that would allow utilities and grid operators to send DR signals directly to building automation and control systems on customers’ sites, using a common language and existing communications technology, such as the Internet.  It was successfully piloted in 2005 by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and in 2007, the California Public Utility Commission mandated its commercial use by the state’s three main investor-owned utilities (IOUs).  In 2009, OpenADR 1.0 was donated to the standards organization, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to be developed into a formal specification, i.e. OpenADR 2.0.

The standard, says Lawrence Berkeley’s Girish Ghatikar, the secretary for the OASIS technical committee that finalized version 2.0, “will enable scaled deployments and interoperability within Smart Grid technologies, thus reducing the cost of DR technology enablement and customer adoption.”

OpenADR 2.0 is expected to be ready for full-scale implementation in the coming months.  It is currently the only existing open data model to bridge communications between a utility and control systems in commercial, industrial and residential facilities.  It has been used by a number of utilities and independent systems operators in the U.S.  While California has been the primary state for OpenADR implementations, it has also been adopted by other U.S. utilities to enable their Auto-DR programs.  So far, OpenADR has been either piloted or implemented by Seattle Power & Light, NV Energy in Nevada, City of Tallahassee in Florida, Bonneville Power Administration in Oregon, and most recently Hawaiian Electric Company in Hawaii, which is undertaking a pilot with Honeywell to demonstrate how DR can help integrate intermittent renewable energy into the grid.  It has also been tested by software developers in Canada and Spain, and is currently being piloted by Honeywell for utilities in China and the United Kingdom.

The introduction of a uniform standard in the Auto-DR market will help lower the cost of technology as well as the services, including maintenance, associated with these tools.  So far, more than 60 building controls vendors have developed products with OpenADR. Second, it will improve the reliability and predictability of Auto-DR because using an Internet-based interface and communication standard will eliminate the reliance on person-to-person interaction between the utility’s personnel and facility management. Third, standardizing a message format will increase the interoperability, efficiency and reliability of DR systems. As a result, both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have endorsed OpenADR as a key smart grid standard. And the OpenADR Alliance, a nonprofit organization, has been created to promote the development, adoption and compliance of the standard across the utility industry.  “Through this member-represented organization, the OpenADR Alliance, and significant support, OpenADR 2.0 has certainly the potential of accelerating Auto-DR adoption across the globe,” said Barry Haaser, managing director of the OpenADR Alliance.

2 responses to “OpenADR 2.0 Standard Will Fuel Automated Demand Response”

  1. Hugo Rune says:

    Where can I take a look into the OpenADR 2.0 standard? How much does it cost?

  2. Marianne Hedin says:

    The best way of getting further information about the OpenADR 2.0 specification is by either contacting the OpenADR Alliance (Barry Haaser, Managing Director, at or Sila Kiliccote at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at

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