Lab Research Streamlines Modern Grid

April 3, 2019

A grid communications model that began as a research project at Berkeley Lab has now become an international standard, paving the way toward smart grid improvements around the world.

The standard, OpenADR, aids in demand response, the practice of managing energy demand from customers with signals based on price or reliability. OpenADR offers a common language energy customers and grid operators can use to communicate. Its approval as a global standard in January, 2019, comes from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which publishes consensus-based standards for the world's electric systems.

Mary Ann Piette

“This standard supports an affordable, reliable and clean electric grid because it’s giving homes and businesses a defined way to interact with the electric system and automatically adjust their power usage accordingly," said Mary Ann Piette, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab) Building Technology and Urban Systems division.

The approval joins OpenADR with the world’s leading standards organization for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. The integration will help advance demand response, the practice of managing energy demand from customers with signals based on price or reliability.

Many states, including California, Nevada, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Hawaii, are already adopting OpenADR, along with parts of Europe, China, Japan, Australia and Korea. Ontario-based service provider FleetCarma, for example, is using OpenADR to help electric vehicle owners and fleet managers to optimize charging, in line with utility demand response programs.

Berkeley Lab helped pioneer automated communication of price and reliability signals from utilities to customers. Work on OpenADR began in 2002 in response to the California electricity crisis, with funding from the California Energy Commission. The initial OpenADR 1.0 framework was eventually refined in partnership with a standards development organization, OASIS (Open Standards, Open Source), to make it fully compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Smart Grid Interoperability Framework. OpenADR 2.0, the basis of today’s global standard, is managed by the OpenADR Alliance.

The OpenADR 2.0b Profile Specification has been integrated into the full IEC standard as IEC 62746-10-1 ED1. (


Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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