Boeing and Siemens have launched a strategic alliance to build microgrids and test smart grid technologies with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The microgrid demonstrations will take place in the U.S., rather than overseas. The DOD spends approximately $20 billion annually in fuel and electricity, according to Judy Marks, head of Siemens U.S. Federal Business Unit.

The companies did not have specifics on any projects. “This is a nascent market,” said Marks. “You won’t see full enterprise microgrids in the next few months.”

However, Tim Noonan, vice president of Boeing Energy, noted that it was the top priority for Boeing Energy, although the initial projects would be on the smaller side, in the multimillion-dollar range. The pilots will aim to introduce energy efficiency tools, such as smart energy controls, and to integrate renewables and storage. 

The DOD is already in the planning stages for some microgrid demonstration projects and the Navy recently announced a partnership with the Department of Energy’s research arm, ARPA-E, to work on grid-level storage solutions. 

For microgrids, the DOD is looking at solutions that could not only provide power to a base during an emergency, but also potentially provide essential services to the surrounding communities here in the U.S.


In other news:

--The OpenADR Alliance moved one step closer to being able to test and certify OpenADR 2.0 compliant products. The non-profit alliance will use Intertek as a testing laboratory.

The OpenADR standard is a demand response platform that was originally developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The standard has been adopted in California but proponents are looking to spread it nationwide in the absence of other automatic demand response standards.

Intertek is already active in the standards space, working with both NIST’s Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) and the ZigBee Alliance.

Researcher from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab told Greentech Media earlier this year that there would be OpenADR-certified projects by the end of 2011. NV Energy and Bonneville Power Administration have both identified OpenADR in their smart grid plans, while Con Edison is also using the standard in a demand response pilot that’s currently underway. The OpenADR Alliance hopes that having products available based on the standard will help to make it a national standard down the road.

--BuildingIQ received $1.2 million from the Australian government to expand its offerings. The Sydney-based building energy management company uses software to deliver up to 40 percent HVAC savings in commercial buildings by integrating weather analytics, building data and other information.

BuildingIQ's application essentially sits on top of the standard building management systems available from companies like Johnson Controls, Siemens and Honeywell. The application takes the data from the BMS about air conditioner settings, thermostat levels, etc., and combines it with a weather feed that provides forecasts for the next 24 to 48 hours and other data like electricity rates. A computerized simulation of the building and its thermal characteristics is also added to the mix. Servers at BuildingIQ's data center then mine all this data to devise a refined building management plan that gets updated every ten minutes.

BuildingIQ is working Down Unde, with both businesses and utilities, and with the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S. The company provides not only demand response and efficiency software, but also fault detection for equipment.  

“With this funding, we look forward to extending our presence around the world, and working with the industry to enable smarter buildings to connect to a smarter grid,” Mike Zimmerman, CEO of BuildingIQ, said in a statement.

Expect to see more of BuildingIQ in the U.S. before 2011 comes to a close.