Avista Development and Duke Energy have jointly announced a joint investment in Open Energy Solutions Inc. (OES) to develop open source software for grid edge solutions. This venture aspires to change the way customers interact with their utilities in the future. It also marks the first time multiple utilities have collaborated to create open source software, spurring innovation and creating a modern approach to standardize grid-edge technology.
Think about this — by putting the entire utility grid onto an operating platform most easily compared to the way a smart phone operating system works, the work OES is now doing has the potential to deliver significant benefits to customers, including access to information and tools to help them automatically manage their energy usage and optimize grid participation with clean distributed energy solutions; all with cyber security built in at the core. Instead of a system which is proprietary, isolated, complex and difficult to change, we create a system that is standardized, flexible, useful, secure and resilient. The common features in the open source platform are built once and then updated by the collective minds of the world. Today those features have to be built by each vendor and the architectures vary by each vendor’s expertise and legacy. We are calling this open source software platform the Open Distributed System Platform or OpenDSP.
In the utility world, we talk a lot about a “smarter energy future” but sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly what that means. Smart meters. Grid edge technologies. Distributed energy systems. Microgrids. These are all technologies currently changing the way we’ve traditionally done business. And now, with open source software, we’re taking a significant step toward accelerating the adoption of those smart elements.
Just think about how smart phones started out. With just a few offerings at the beginning, apps soon exploded and continue to do so, giving us literally hundreds of choices on how we want to interact with our own data, as well as publically available data. Soon, large investor-owned utilities, small municipal districts, and customers will have access to the license-free OpenDSP platform, promoting widespread adoption and support for common grid features as many utilities make upgrades to modernize their grid infrastructure.
Avista Development and Duke Energy’s investment in OES will help to expedite the creation of the first version of OpenDSP. And while innovation has always been at Avista’s core, with previous success stories such as Itron and Ecova, strategic partnerships with thought leaders at Duke Energy’s Emerging Technology Office and the DOE lab system serve to benefit end users even faster.
The OpenDSP software will use interoperability concepts and distributed intelligence and a micro service laminar architecture and security, allowing utilities to integrate, coordinate and optimize diverse assets more efficiently. This includes the energy grid, traditional and renewable generation, customer assets and more. OES, founded by the ITOCHU Corporation of Japan, has the ability to transform the industry with this work and that has Avista, Duke, the DOE and our soon to be announced utility-led open source foundation, feeling tremendously enthusiastic about our involvement. This work builds upon the industry’s progress in modernizing the power grid and will help utilities of all sizes access systems that may have been out of reach — ultimately delivering more options to customers.