Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Avista and Duke invest in open source software start-up

Steve Rogerson
January 24, 2019
 
Washington-based Avista and Duke Energy have made a joint investment in Californian start-up Open Energy Solutions (OES) to develop open source software for grid edge technology.
 
This should deliver benefits to users, including information and tools to help them manage their energy usage.
 
This is said to be the first time multiple utilities have collaborated to create open source software, spurring innovation and creating a new market for this technology.
 
“This ground-breaking approach to meeting the needs of utility customers in the future will allow unrivalled creativity and thinking around energy management, forever changing how technology interacts with utility grid systems and ultimately paving the way for more control and information management for the utility customer of the future,” said Ed Schlect, vice president at Avista.
 
The partnership builds upon North Carolina-based Duke Energy’ Emerging Technology Office’s (ETO) work to explore open grid standards through the creation of the Open Field Message Bus (Open FMB).
 
“Imagine our entire utility grid operating in a similar way to a smart phone operating system – flexible, useful and resilient,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy senior vice president. “Through this partnership, we will make that type of system available for the energy grid, putting more tools in the hands of our customers. This platform will provide customers more options in how they interact with their energy company, while also delivering sustainable value and economic growth as we build a smarter energy future.”
 
The software will use interoperability concepts and distributed intelligence, allowing utilities to integrate, coordinate and optimise diverse assets more efficiently. This includes the energy grid, traditional and renewable generation, and customer assets.
 
OES will make the software available to users in an open source format, promoting widespread adoption and support for this software as many utilities make upgrades to the energy grid. Duke Energy and Avista’s investment in OES will help to expedite the creation of the first version of the software.
 
OES, founded by the Itochu Corporation of Japan, has been supporting and accelerating the implementation of work undertaken by Duke Energy’s ETO and currently provides open source software in support of Duke Energy’s interoperability efforts.
 
“When we formed OES, we saw a potential opportunity to transform an industry,” said Takuji Motooka, executive councillor at Itochu. “We look forward to a more strategic relationship with both Duke Energy and Avista through our mutual interest in the work OES is undertaking.”
 
This work builds upon the industry’s progress in modernising the power grid and will help utilities of all sizes access systems that may have been out of reach, ultimately delivering more options to customers.
 
“We see this as an opportunity to fill a gap the industry has previously been unable to fill with more traditional centralised software,” said Wade Malcolm, CEO of OES.