Open Power Platforms Online Resource Centre
Welcome to the Online Resource Centre for the Open Power Platforms Project. Everyone is welcome to use the resources below to contribute to the process of developing one or more fully functional open technology platforms for distributed energy resources (DERs).
This page is a prototype of an evolving project, expected to grow and take on a life of its own as increasing numbers of participants contribute to the design and content.
What can open power platforms do?
The energy system is changing rapidly. No one knows what its ultimate shape will be, but there is ample evidence to suggest that Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) including distributed generation, demand response, storage, and smart energy controllers of various sorts will play a greater role as time goes on. As these new resources are created and added to the system, the grid is expected to evolve more organically in the future, much like the internet does today.
As a result, open power platforms are expected to serve as flexible and high functioning hubs for safely integrating a plethora of energy resources into local networks. As micro-grids, local distribution companies and the Internet of Things evolve, it is becoming increasingly important to have reliable local hubs that can be used to optimize energy flows, facilitate information sharing, and encourage ongoing innovation. High performance control centres are needed because the electric grid is a fully integrated network requiring instantaneous real-time co-ordination and protection. However, to the extent these control centres can be decentralized themselves, while still meeting the exacting requirements for safety, security, protection, control and power quality, the vitality inherent in facilitating widespread customer participation can be leveraged to create efficiencies that benefit all users of the grid, and innovations that continually improve the system for the benefit of society as a whole.
DERs can introduce physical risks and security risks if they are not properly integrated into the existing system. In many jurisdictions the rapid growth of DERs is creating challenges for LDCs (Local Distribution Companies). The IEEE and others are developing standards for LDCs who anticipate having high penetration levels of DERs. A significant component of the work in developing open power platforms will inevitably include systems to accommodate the increasing needs for managing the physical and cybersecurity impacts of DER penetration.
Some of the key benefits of developing and disseminating open power platforms include the following:
* Facilitation of economic transactions between participants of all types connected to the grid
* Assisting with physical optimization of local power infrastructure
* Enabling cost savings resulting from convergence on common standards for open technology
* Formalization of user rights for access to grid services, where they aren’t fully developed and formalized already
* Alleviating business obstacles related to absence of standardization, for project developers and others
* Enhancing the basis on which consumers are asked to place their trust in complex multi-party systems
* Reconciliation of grid principles with internet principles
Open technology, open access and open source
A good example of open technology is the common electric power plug and receptacle. Everyone uses it, no one has to worry about who owns the design rights to it, and everyone benefits from having a common standard which they can use to connect equipment together and build complex networks. Open source software is similar, and in fact underlies much of what’s on the internet today. Although millions of people have contributed to it and helped build it into what it is today, the actual code underlying major software like the Android Operating System, HTML, PHP websites, and Wikipedia is open and freely available to anyone. No one owns the code, and everyone can contribute to making it better using mass collaboration techniques that have proven to be highly effective. Proprietary software applications can be built for use on open source platforms. In fact, some of the most secure applications available today are proprietary software built on time tested open source platforms.
A 2017 paper by the IEEE Standards Association says, “Next generation infrastructures and vertical industry and consumer deployments are expected to be dependent upon open source, across all market sectors.” It goes on to say that “Open Source provided the potential for expanded integration of previously discrete technology eco-systems (e.g. 5G, IoT, Analytics, Big Data, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Artificial Reality, Vertical platforms: Smart Energy, Smart Cities, Automotive, etc.). Industry feedback indicated open source solutions could provide improved time to market solutions and potentially provide economic benefits to both suppliers and consumers. Research indicated … open source community initiations were expanding, where open source was being considered more frequently as an option to address industry requirements.”
CISCO notes that “Currently there are over 360 proprietary communication protocols used in the electrical system, making it impossible for different systems to communicate with one another. To enable this communication, all of those elements must converge on an open platform ....” (See the URL for CISCO’s smart grid presentation below for more information on this.)
For more information on open source technology, the following resources may be helpful:
“What Is Open Source, and Why Is IEEE Involved?” Q&A with Gary Stuebing, IEEE Corporate Advisory Group Open Source Ad Hoc, Chair
Wikipedia explains open source software in this article:
Open technology uses the same principles as open source software, but applies them more generally. For more information see:
An open library of resources for everyone
Please see below for links to discussion papers, organizations, events and various initiatives related to open power platforms. To add more resources, just let us know what they are and where they are. Follow these three easy steps:
1. Post articles online using your preferred system, or capture content online you think is relevant to the open energy platform project
2. Write a one line title describing the resource, and a one line explanation of why it’s interesting
Learn more about the field. Click on any of the links below to access discussion papers
“What the power grid can learn from the internet and vice versa,” LinkedIn posting and magazine article, January 8, 2018
“An Open Source Electric Grid,” article posted on January 9, 2018
Interview with Lawrence Orsini, the CEO of LO3, a key driver of the Brooklyn Microgrid, explaining, among other things, why open source development is part of their strategy, January 17, 2018. He says: “The timing will be around the network release, which will be open source. Once the network is open source, you’ll be able to start building on it. That’s when we expect people to really get engaged – probably in Q3 or Q4 of this year.”
“Imagine the wickedly smart new energy ventures of the future,” LinkedIn, April 2017
“Utilities prepare for future of change” IPPSO FACTO, June 2014
“Growing the open, intelligent edge,”Article on the growth open source standards for automated buildings.
Links to related resources
IEEE-SA Standards Board
IEEE Open Source activity:
GE Reports related to transactive energy, posted on the GE Canada website, such as this one:
Cisco video on the Smart Grid:
The Global Design Challenge
Anyone with an interest in the future shape of the power system is invited to prepare submissions on how to design the most dependable, efficient and inclusive open access open source distributed energy integration platform. It should be suitable for use by LDCs and micro-grids, and meet all applicable legal and technical requirements.
Watch this space for more information as active players bring forward new plans and proposals including a global design challenge.
Note: This web page is a prototype. It is a preliminary model for a future resource centre, still under development. All content on this page should be considered to be in draft form.
APPrO, the Association of Power Producers of Ontario
25 Adelaide St. East, Suite 1602, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3A1
tel. 416-322-6549 fax 416-481-5785