Pushing for a better energy standard
If our electric utilities are as slow-moving as they’re purported to be (and, yes, of course, they are), at least the Open Automated Demand Response Alliance is doing what it can to make things happen.
The alliance has been growing nicely of late. Membership – consisting mostly of building energy-control manufacturers that serve the electric power industry – now stands at 160 members, more than twice as high as just a couple of years ago.
Also, there are more than 100 products that the alliance has now certified as meeting the open-source DR standard that it has been promoting since its formation in 2010.
And, after having met a good measure of success in Japan and Korea, as well as interest in China, Taiwan and Australia, the alliance is now turning its attention to Europe in its bid to establish itself as an international standard.
But, wait, there’s more: last week, the alliance released a new OpenADR Demand Response Program Guide and unveiled a certification program. Both are meant to help cement its standard in the industry with recommendations designed to help utilities and manufacturers alike address what is required to deploy a typical DR program.
OpenADR, as we know, is designed to help utilities deal with spikes in demand or wholesale pricing by sending an automated message to residential or business customers, enabling them to respond to DR events in real-time to reduce demand and costs.
ADR is getting to be a nice-sized business. According to Pike Research, total spending for ADR globally is expected to grow to more than $1.7 billion by 2018.
But interoperability, as always, is the big problem.
Barry Haaser, the managing director of the alliance, said the ultimate goal of the guide is to help impart a clearer understanding of the requirements behind true end-to-end connectivity.
Many DR programs, even when they use the OpenADR standard for automating messages, vary from utility to utility. That means spending a lot of time and money for programming and integration efforts. The guide features standardized templates of DR program models that utilities can adapt for their own use. These include models for critical peak pricing, thermostat direct load control and residential EV charging.
“It’s kind of shocking that some implementations can take three weeks, while others can take three months. And, of course, the cost can be tremendously different,” Haaser said.
As we all know, the need for DR and distributed resources also vary greatly from utility to utility, something that often depends on where that utility is doing business and how hip its regulators might be to DR.