At Connectivity Week earlier this year, I was asked to moderate a panel titled, "What is ADR and Why Should I Care?"
Demand response programs have been around for decades, primarily as interruptible programs, but technological advances including Internet, smart metering, and reduced cost control have reduced barriers to entry, and increased interest in demand-side management has led to explosive growth in this market. Automated demand response (ADR) development and the evolution of common standards should serve to help continued growth.
The OpenADR communication standards being developed by the OpenADR Alliance at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Demand Response Research Center aim to ramp up the interpretability of demand response and energy efficiency products available to the utility market.
"OpenADR is the link between the dispatch systems and the end devices," Jeremy Laundergan explained during the panel discussion. Laundergan, who is a director, utility services consulting, with EnerNex, was previously senior project manager with Southern California Edison, whre he worked on emerging markets and technologies for demand response (see main story).
Michael Manning, product manager of demand response for UISOL/Alstom, another panelist that day, explained the changes needed in demand response moving forward this way. Some current DR programs, he said, are more "spray and pray that you get the right response when you need it. Utilities need predictability and reliability of response." "
Automated demand response consists of fully automated signaling from a utility, Independent System Operator (ISO) or other appropriate entity to provide automated connectivity to customer end-use control systems and strategies," explained Carl Besaw, project manager with Southern California Edison's tariff programs and services group.
Besaw, who is currently leading demand response emerging markets and technology efforts for the utility, explained that demand response reliability can be substantially improved through automation, as it reduces human error and serves to improve customer participation.
"The customer still has the choice regarding strategy," he said. "They decide."