CEA releases modular communications interface for energy management


Arlington, VA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — February 6, 2013 – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released a new standard for a modular communication interface that will enable grid connectivity of consumer electronics for demand response, and thereby enable a new generation of “smart grid ready” products.

The standard, CEA-2045, is aimed to enable any product to connect to any type of demand response system (advanced meter reading (AMI), Smart Energy Profile (SEP), OpenADR), and/or home or building network.

The concept behind CEA-2045 is relatively straightforward, according to the CEA. Utilizing the RS-485 and serial peripheral interface (SPI) supported by most silicon chips today, the MCI protocol is capable of simply passing through standard protocols including Internet Protocol (IP), OpenADR, and SEP from the communications module to the end-device. Network security is supported through the selected transport protocol, such as Wi-Fi, ZigBee, HomePlug, Z-Wave, LonWorks, etc., in addition to network or application layer security.

Communications messaging supported by the MCI standard supports direct load control, TOU, CPP, RTP, peak time rebates, all kinds of block rates, and a range of ancillary services. The functionality of the removable modules can be tailored by utilities or other load managing entities to provide support for the unique needs in a given region or service territory, without impacting the end-devices.

Field demonstrations of products that utilize the standard are now being coordinated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), after earlier EPRI projects contributed to its development and evaluation through laboratory interoperability demonstrations. The demonstrations are focused on thermostats/HVAC, water heaters, pool pumps, and electric vehicle service equipment to demonstrate thesework successfully with diverse demand response networks and programs.

According to the EPRI, the project should provide participating product makers with insights as to the functional requirements of various demand response programs. The findings will also be contributed to the CEA for future improvements to the standard.