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LF Energy is an open-source foundation hosted within The Linux Foundation, dedicated to driving the transformation of the global energy sector through the use of open-source technology.

With a mission to accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy and reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, LF Energy has created a collaborative community of innovators and developers who work together to build open-source software, hardware, and standards for the energy industry.

In this episode of Climate Tech 100, Lucian Balea, Governing Board Chair of LF Energy Foundation, discussed the importance of their work in providing solutions for the world’s energy challenges.

The organization hosts a range of projects focused on key areas such as digital substations, net load forecasting, metering and measurement tools, EV charging infrastructure frameworks, data storage and analysis tools, and grid simulations.

By making these tools freely available to energy stakeholders around the world, LF Energy aims to create a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Lucian Balea

Can you tell us more about the specific open source software solutions that LF Energy is developing to accelerate the decarbonization of the power systems sector?

We would recommend reviewing the LF Energy Landscape for an overview of all the projects.

In general though, LF Energy hosts open source software, hardware, standards, and specifications projects that are designed to accelerate the energy transition so the world can more rapidly and sustainably move away from fossil fuels.

This includes things like software required to run digital substations, net load forecasting, metering and measurement tools, EV charging infrastructure frameworks, data storage and analysis tools, grid simulations, and more.

How does LF Energy work with utilities, grid operators, and other stakeholders in the energy sector to promote adoption of open source technologies?

LF Energy serves as a neutral home for open source projects that affect power systems.

This means that we are able to bring together organizations like utilities, grid operators, legacy vendors, technology companies, startups, research and academic institutions, government and other stakeholders to work together collaboratively on building the technologies necessary to complete the energy transition.

LF Energy does not build these technologies itself, rather it provides governance, legal support, marketing, training, events, project management, hosting infrastructure, and related services to let the community build them in a neutral fashion.

This collaborative development model has been proven in other industries such as telecommunications, automotive, finance, and more to significantly speed innovation and development time while lowering costs for everyone involved as those costs and development resources are shared.

What are some of the biggest challenges that the power systems sector faces in transitioning to renewable and distributed energy resources, and how can open source software help address them?

The challenges are frankly immense, but surmountable.

Decarbonization requires digital transformation across all parts of the energy industry.

The shift from centralized power generation to DERs means utilities will no longer have complete control over these systems.

There is fragmentation in the industry, so not all technologies for power generation, transmission, and distribution are compatible, making interoperability paramount in order to onboard the wide range of DERs that are coming online.

Technologies required cannot be built by any organization alone, and traditional “black box” approaches with exclusive proprietary software used in the energy industry will not work for this new era as they can lead to different standards for measurement, meaning utilities may be judged on different measures.

By ensuring vendor neutrality and collaborative development, open source prevents differing standards while ensuring the interoperability and compatibility of systems.


How does LF Energy ensure that its open source solutions are secure, reliable, and scalable enough to meet the needs of mission-critical power systems?

All LF Energy projects are required to achieve a badge from the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) verifying they have been built securely before they can move into the Early Adoption phase.

Our projects are all required to adhere to best practices for secure software development.

In terms of reliability and scalability, the LF Energy Technical Advisory Council (TAC) oversees development of all projects and works closely with the project maintainers and contributors to ensure they meet standards for commercialization.

Can you talk about any successful case studies or real-world applications of LF Energy’s open source solutions in the power systems sector?

The best example is to read this report on how utilities Alliander and RTE have leveraged LF Energy technologies:

We also have a case study more specifically about Alliander’s implementation of the OpenSTEF project for forecasting:

How does LF Energy collaborate with other open source communities, such as those focused on data analytics or cybersecurity, to advance the decarbonization of energy?

In addition to the OpenSSF mentioned above for ensuring security of code, LF Energy collaborates with other Linux Foundation projects such as LF Edge, Zephyr, LF AI, Green Software Foundation, and more to look for technologies that complement each other that can be used to further improve our open source offerings.

We additionally work with governments, research institutions, academia, and other non-profit organizations to take advantage of their knowledge and resources and incorporate them into our projects.

Can you share any upcoming initiatives or partnerships that LF Energy has planned to further its mission?

One of the biggest upcoming initiatives is LF Energy Summit, taking place June 1-2 in Paris, France.

This event will gather members of the LF Energy community including foundation members, developers, end users, policymakers, regulators, and other energy industry stakeholders to learn how LF Energy and its projects are leading the charge in this effort, and to collaborate and share best practices to speed innovation.

The Linux Foundation is also hosting a new event, SustainabilityCon, as part of Open Source Summit North America (May 10-12 in Vancouver, Canada) and Europe (September 19-21 in Bilbao, Spain).

This event provides a forum to drive open source innovation in energy efficiency and interoperability and clean development practices within industries ranging from manufacturing to agriculture and beyond through collaboration and learning within the community.

How does LF Energy approach issues of interoperability and standardization in the development of open source solutions for the power systems sector?

This goes to the core of what LF Energy does.

Our overarching goal is to reduce fragmentation and increase interoperability.

A key to this was the launch in 2022 of LF Energy Standards & Specifications (LFESS) which seeks to create open standards and specifications for the power sector.

One example of a project includes the Carbon Data Specification, which is a data dictionary for raw data and a standard for data requirements that enable energy data access for measuring, quantifying, and tracking carbon emissions from energy production and consumption.

Another is Super Advanced Meter which is an open source specification project focusing on a widely applicable smart meter data gateway.

How does LF Energy see the role of software-defined infrastructure evolving over the next few decades, and what opportunities and challenges do you foresee?

Very much so! We see the energy sector today as similar to where the telecom industry was a decade ago.

There is a tremendous amount of sunk costs into legacy infrastructure that is composed of black boxes that are locked into a single vendor.

We hope that energy infrastructure will be overwhelmingly software-defined not just in the next few decades, but in the next few years.

If this process takes longer it will be impossible to achieve decarbonization targets.

This creates tremendous opportunities for the industry to revolutionize how it currently operates.

Power will be controlled in not just a few locations, but in thousands or millions.

This presents challenges of course as we’ve discussed earlier around interoperability.

It also means changing the traditional utility business model which could cause concern and pushback from utilities who are struggling to understand how they can operate efficiently, reliably, and profitably under this model.

It requires more than a rethinking of the IT and OT behind power systems, but also how they are structured in the market.


To find out more about LF Energy, visit