/>
X
Innovation

An open source energy future?

In the energy market, what Microsoft is already doing would be a great advance. Groups like ISO and IEEE can get to work now standardizing couplers and other Enernet formats, so we can have interoperability entrepreneurs can produce to.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu (right) has seen our energy future and says it's open source.

Specifically, he wants open source tools that might act as plug-ins to building design programs and act as guides to improving a project's energy efficiency. It might help in the siting of windows, or rooftop solar cells.

There is precedent for this. EnergyPlus models energy flows within buildings. OpenStudio is a plug-in for Google SketchUp that lets you link your drawings to the result of an EnergyPlus analysis. The department presently maintains a list of 300 tools you can get now.

It's impressive, but I think there's something that's more important than open source.

Open standards.

  • Solar cells need to be built to a standard size, with standard connectors, so they can be replaced easily as new technologies are developed.
  • Systems for collecting power from small suppliers need to be standardized, not just for the benefit of utilities but of owners of solar and wind resources who might have some extra power to sell.

One of the biggest arguments on this blog is whether Microsoft is open or not. They're not open source. Very little of their code is visible to the general programmer. But they have pioneered plug-and-play, open APIs designed to let new applications connect with its larger systems.

In the energy market, what Microsoft is already doing would be a great advance. Groups like ISO and IEEE can get to work now standardizing couplers and other Enernet formats, so we can have interoperability entrepreneurs can produce to.

That's where I personally think the Secretary should be addressing his energies. What do you think?

Editorial standards

Related

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?
adobestock-339222220

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know
chat bot

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know

How to nail the 'Do you have any questions for me?' part of the interview
job interview

How to nail the 'Do you have any questions for me?' part of the interview