A wide range of industry experts from the public, private and non-profit sectors expect that wide scale adoption of digital technologies will deliver substantial economic and environmental benefits to energy consumers, utility shareholders, and society as a whole. Smart Grid initiative proponents have appropriately focused on developing a suite of open standards to support such a market transformation. While open standards are prerequisite to create a more vibrant market-driven power sector such a development effort may not be sufficient to create the innovative dynamism that has redefined other industry sectors.
The key stakeholders – policymakers, regulators, investor owned utilities, independent transmission operators (RTOs and ISOs), equipment vendors, and solution providers – implicitly accept the primacy of the centralized generation, transmission and distribution model. This conceptual model inhibits the creative destruction necessary to rapidly transform the power sector into an industry that embraces private investment and innovation on a large scale. We propose a different model – a scalable, open source energy operating system that can accelerate the shift to a more localized and sustainable energy system. An open source architecture encourages different players, with different areas of expertise and interest, to make substantial contributions to the whole system. Such an open ended approach can unleash significant innovation and investment across the entire value chain.