In the next 30 years, rapid innovations will transform how we create, distribute, and use energy.  Software-defined infrastructure is one of the great leverage points for decarbonization.

Open source leads the way.

The transition from centralized fossil-fuel generation to renewable and distributed energy resources is the most significant reimagining of power systems in over 140 years.  Approximately, 75% of our planetary carbon emissions can be mitigated through the electrification of  energy and transportation. There is no Plan B for grid transformation; the time is now. By adopting an open source strategy that maximizes flexibility, agility, and interoperability, we can learn to innovate at the speed of technology.

When considering your software investments – whether spending on commercial, in-house, or an open source leveraged development model like LF Energy – it’s important to think through the following considerations.

Open

Open is more than a buzzword.  We have found at the Linux Foundation that in the early days of a new market, custom, proprietary solutions can meet acute short-term needs. Utilizing these sorts of solutions is often sensible to jump start evolution, but as industries mature in their digitization efforts, proprietary stacks perpetuate vendor lock-in, one-off solutions, and ultimately stifle innovation.

Open interfaces and open source reference implementations enable interoperability between solutions, whether in-house or vendor built, so that utilities and end users are able to leverage best of breed options in the ecosystem.

The shared technology investment at the heart of open source provides a core set of capabilities built-on by the entire ecosystem. That is the value proposition of LF Energy. Over time, this investment’s value will only increase, surpassing narrow outcomes within the silo of narrow institutional, national, state, and corporate boundaries. Shared technology investments provide significant acceleration and act as a multiplier for investments that directly impact the transformational goals’ energy transition. We will get farther together, sooner.

Composable

LF Energy’s focus on the decarbonization of power systems through digitalization and open source represents an unprecedented change for electrification, electric mobility, and the grid. Mitigating climate collapse, while ensuring economic prosperity, requires that we be able to network supply and demand through secure distributed hardware, data, and software. The future grid will be built on infrastructure platforms that will mostly consist of bare metal hardware, VMs and containers, and cloud orchestration systems that can manage and choreograph those resources, plus Software-Defined Networking (SDN) controllers that enable high data processing.

While similar software exists in the telecommunications sector, networking electrons has the challenge of physics. For the most part, this software does not exist. Over the next two decades it will need to be built and/or composed of open source blocks from other domains. Ensuring that the necessary inputs and pieces from diverse stakeholder groups working together, under pressure, is not a trivial exercise. That is the value proposition of LF Energy.

Agile

The promise of LF Energy is that moving to software-defined energy systems will enable utilities to take a far more agile approach. This is in direct contrast to traditional proprietary solutions, some of which would require utilities to bring an entire forklift to upgrade. LF Energy enables system and network operators, along with their vendors and suppliers, to “fail fast, fail often” while bringing new software functions and services to market quickly and efficiently. Transitioning from fossil-fuel requires that decarbonization make economic sense. We will win on cheaper, faster, more secure. That is a classic open source playbook.

DevOps, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment methodologies are key to this transition and are the backbone of the LF Energy vision. We provide training, communities, and resources to help you come up to speed. We want you to move at the speed of technology. At The Linux Foundation we take your learning seriously. Whether through our sister projects, LF Training, the TODO Group, or webinars with open source leaders, we have you covered.

Robust

The microservices, functional view of power systems needs to take into account a more network centric view of robustness: self-healing, scalable, dynamic, redundant, upgradeable, and secure.

Rather than traditional, old school, monolithic software, we envision a more rapid and iterative approach that leverages a cloud-based architecture that promotes scaling of various pieces of the software stack independently of others. By dynamically scaling up and scaling down resources based on application demand or consumer usage patterns, and leveraging as much as possible easily available COTS open source ready hardware to simplify supply chains, we will drive costs down while rapidly expanding to meet 2.5X demand over the next 20 years.

The LF Energy approach to technical and project alignment works to ensure that all components developed in the ecosystem meet the highest standards for safety and security, while enabling speed, flexibility, and minimum toil for the women and men responsible for managing power systems.