Avista, Duke Energy Invest in Grid Edge Software Technology

Avista Development, a wholly owned unregulated subsidiary of Spokane, Wash.-based Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced a joint investment in Open Energy Solutions Inc. (OES) to develop open source software for grid edge technology solutions. These solutions will deliver significant benefits to customers, including information and tools to help them manage their energy usage.

This marks the first time multiple utilities have collaborated to create open source software, spurring innovation and creating a new market for this technology.

“This groundbreaking approach to meeting the needs of utility customers in the future will allow unrivaled creativity and thinking around energy management solutions, 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,” says Ed Schlect, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice President, Avista Corp.

This partnership builds upon the Duke Energy Emerging Technology Office’s (ETO) pioneering work to explore open grid standards through the creation of the Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™).

“Imagine our entire utility grid operating in a similar way to a smart phone operating system – flexible, useful and resilient. Through this partnership, we will make that type of system available for the energy grid, putting more tools in the hands of our customers,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy’s senior vice president of business transformation and technology. “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 more efficiently integrate, coordinate and optimize diverse assets. This includes the energy grid, traditional and renewable generation, customer assets and more.

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 instrumental in 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 Corporation. “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 modernizing 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 centralized software solutions,” said Wade Malcolm, CEO of OES.