Brett Hauser of Greenlots, explains the importance of OpenADR for a healthy electricity grid



Greenlots Public charging across the world
Greenlots Public charging across the world

Greenlots is one of the leading forces behind smart charging and network management. In our last interview, President Brett Hauser explained how adopting open standards helps the adoption of electric vehicles. Eight months later, he brings us up to speed with how the energy industry is adopting the OpenADR standard and the importance it will have balancing our grid.

What is OpenADR?

The OpenADR Alliance rolled out its second-generation communication standard protocol, the OpenADR 2.0 standard. This is a communications protocol for automated demand response with two versions: OpenADR 2.0a, and 2.0b. The first protocol was designed for simple devices, and the expanded functionality of 2.0b allows for more robust, real-time reporting.

So far key players that have jumped on board the OpenADR alliance, include Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)and Southern California Edison (SCE). These companies will add OpenADR 2.0 certified products for local emergency dispatch and price DR, allowing them to better manage peak demand without the need for expensive new power plants. Siemens joined the Board of Directors, made up of Southern California Edison, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), AutoGrid, EnerNOC and Honeywell on December 10, 2013. Industry leaders and major players announced compliant products, including EnerNOC, Honeywell, Hitachi, IPKeys, Fujitsu and AutoGrid.

CarNewsCafe: What’s driving the open standards demand in the utility sector?

Brett: Open standards provide utilities with the scalability and flexibility they need as their business requirements and use cases evolve. As a champion of open standards for interoperability with EV charging infrastructure, embracing OpenADR was a logical progression for Greenlots as we address our clients demand management needs.

CarNewsCafe: Why are utilities embracing electric vehicles (EV) as resources and not liabilities now?

Brett: The requirements for load balancing and frequency regulating are evolving as distributed energy generation becomes more prevalent. Demand response (DR) plays a crucial role in our national grid’s stability, and as electric vehicles become more prevalent, they represent both a challenge and opportunity. The challenge is being able to ensure drivers can charge their vehicles when they need to, at a reasonable price point and without requiring expensive infrastructure upgrades or triggering expensive demand charges. We see future opportunities in being able to aggregate the load from multiple EV’s to provide frequency regulation and other ancillary services.

CarNewsCafe: So how is Greenlots helping the adoption of open standards?

Brett: We want to enable widespread EV adoption and believe that open standards play a critical role in enabling growth by promoting innovation and competition, which ultimately leads to lower price points for the customer. Purchase decisions should be made on feature, function and price, not because someone is locked into a proprietary system and the switching costs would be cost prohibitive.

CarNewsCafe: Are companies finally opening up to the idea of open standard?

Brett: Adopting open standards where possible is a logical solution as far as flexibility and scalability. Unbiased education will always play a big part in helping consumers pick the right EV charging solution. Frankly, it should be about the core product. It makes more sense to go after ease of use and convenience, then to lock people into short lived systems.

CarNewsCafe: Thankfully, the obstacles so far are not technical, but more market-driven. We are grateful the energy industry is embracing open standards. Greenlots has been a key player in helping industries and consumers find more flexible solutions. We look forward to more from Greenlots and its work with Open Charge Point Protocol and OpenADR.

Greenlots  Workplace charging at Autodesk, San Rafael, CA
Greenlots Workplace charging at Autodesk, San Rafael, CA

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart