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Berkeley Lab Tests Smart Grid Communication

Tamar Wilner

Berkeley LabLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Demand to Grid (D2G) Lab is testing a variety of communication architectures to govern the way information moves between energy users and the grid, and how it can be viewed and monitored.

The D2G Lab is demonstrating the Energy Service Interface, a generic interface between the service provider and customer. This interface can take the form of a building management system in a commercial building, an energy management and control system in an industrial facility, or a smart meter or other device in a residential setting.

The lab is using signals under the Open Automated Demand Response Communication Standards (OpenADR), which it introduced in 2002 to standardize the way demand response technologies interoperate within a smart grid. OpenADR signals can be sent over a variety of networks and transports, including the Internet, from a variety of entities. Utilities can use OpenADR to send demand response signals, which appliances and equipment respond to by changing power use for a short period of time.

Hundreds of sites use OpenADR, and more than 10 countries are reviewing and conducting pilot tests to use OpenADR for automated demand response, the laboratory says.

Over the past year, the D2G Lab has also been testing strategies and standards for demand-side interoperability, devices, and monitoring and controls technologies.

One of its second-year activities integrates the D2G Lab’s work with Lawrence Berkeley’s new Facility for Low Energy Experiments in Buildings (FlexLab). The facility will be completed this year, though its first two test beds – for virtual design, and lighting and plugloads – opened in 2012.

D2G Lab demonstrations at the FlexLab will tackle lighting system control and peak demand; HVAC control and peak demand; robust data acquisition to accommodate additional instrumentation; demand response automation server and client designs; and the EnergyPlus and Modelica tools for modeling energy consumption and demand response.

The lab has also opened a guest house (pictured) that simultaneously serves as a D2G test site, demonstrating communication between a multitude of end-use devices, such as smart appliances, revenue-grade smart meters and a home area network gateway, to receive demand response reliability pricing signals using OpenADR.



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