Big news on the Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR) front today. French power giant has announced it’s buying Santa Clara, Caliif-based Utility Integrated Solutions, or UISOL, the startup deeply involved in the Berkeley Labs-developed, California Energy Commission-sponsored protocol called OpenADR. OpenADR is an open-source technology for demand response signals — think of it as a digital Morse Code for enabling utility customers to turn down equipment and other power loads on utility command or price signal. UISOL is developing the open source code for the standard, and has also devised software and hardware to run it across utility and customer platforms. Alstom says it’s going to invest primarily in UISOL’s DRBizNet software, now used by big U.S. grid operators like PJM and MISO to handle system-wide demand response programs — kind of like an enterprise-level view of demand response. This is the second big acquisition in OpenADR, the first being Honeywell’s 2010 purchase of Akuacom, the startup that makes the servers that translate OpenADR signals into building-side power-down commands for customers including Southern California Edison and State Grid Corp. of China. A big question for both Honeywell and Alstom remains, how open will they keep their work?
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