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The future is electric and flexible!

Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and an aspirational goal of reaching 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030.

Most new renewable generation will be intermittent in nature, coming from solar and wind sources, which presents challenges to those who operate our electricity system and manage intermittent supply against community demand.

The increasing uptake of electric vehicles, batteries and smart devices in the home presents an opportunity for those who run our electricity system, to achieve greater flexibility in how demand is managed.

Energy system flexibility can help to facilitate the introduction of more intermittent renewable electricity generation and provide consumers with an opportunity to play an increasing role in the operation of the electricity network.  

If left uncontrolled, increased electrification will require significant investment in network infrastructure and ultimately cost the consumer more via their electricity bill.

Taking the first step

The FlexTalk project is exploring how the adoption of a common communication protocol, in this case OpenADR®, could better enable customer flexibility to be utilised by testing the interoperability of a two-way common communication protocol between an electricity distribution company and flexibility supplier.

Our trial tested the feasibility of a common communications protocol and developed the procedures needed for the active management of electric vehicle charging in near real time.  

The final project reports were published in May 2024. Download the reports using the links below:



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Our Vision

To maximise participation in flexibility services through the adoption of a common communication protocol, that is accepted by the New Zealand electricity supply industry, enabling parties seeking or providing flexibility services to easily procure, dispatch, and monitor such services.

"With increasing uptake in electric vehicles and growing interest in smart homes, demand flexibility will play an important role in New Zealand's electricity future. 

Real-time testing and industry-developed guidance for a common communication protocol to manage demand will help the electricity supply industry to prepare and support an end-to-end flexibility system that improves outcomes for both electricity distribution businesses and consumers.”   

Brian Fitzgerald, Technical Lead, EECA

Project Purpose

FlexTalk is an industry initiative to define and evaluate the processes that need to be in place to apply the OpenADR® 2.0 (2.0a and/or 2.0b) communication protocol to achieve interoperability between EDBs and flexibility suppliers, for the active, managed charging of EVs.

The Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA) is leading FlexTalk in partnership with industry and Te Tari Tiaki Pungao / the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).


“The trial of OpenADR provides an opportunity to unlock the true value of demand-side management for consumers by using a well-supported open information exchange model”.  

Rodger Griffiths, Industry Design Team Chair. 


We are running a two-part trial involving three EDBs and two flexibility suppliers to evaluate the processes needed to successfully manage the charging of EVs using the OpenADR® 2.0 (2.0a and or 2.0b) communication protocol.

  • Part A of the trial is complete, where we tested one-way communication (using simple signals) from the EDB to the flexibility supplier. The learnings report from Part A can be found here
  • Part B of the trial is complete, where we tested two-way communication between the EDB and flexibility supplier, Part B enables more complex interactions, including the ability to request specific load reductions, send pricing signals and reporting. 

Part B will run from May through to October 2023 with the reports due to be released for industry consultation in late November 2023. The final technical guide and supporting report will be released in January 2024.


The project will deliver a functional specification document that provides direction for the electricity industry on the application of the OpenADR 2.0 communication protocol in New Zealand for actively managing EV charging.

A supporting guidance document that provides:

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