Dozens of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs and innovators gathered at the White House today to celebrate new products, mobile phone applications, and services that lower energy costs, improve energy efficiency, and protect the environment. The event -- “Energy Datapalooza” -- was the first annual showcase for the Energy Data Initiative, launched by the Administration earlier this year to liberate data as a fuel of innovation while rigorously protecting privacy.
The common thread throughout the new products showcased at the Energy Datapalooza was that they all use freely available open data from the U.S. government. “We use open data in all of our products,” says Martha Amram, CEO of WattzOn, an energy efficiency company that saves homeowners money. “The government datasets and technologies are valuable but often complex in the raw form. We integrate open data along with proprietary and 3rd-party sources to deliver innovations that make a real difference for people.”
The Energy Datapalooza also featured many new datasets to support additional private-sector innovation. For example, the Energy.Data.Gov community doubled the number of links to federal government datasets and the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) released twenty new datasets and technologies, originating from each of its Programs (i.e. Solar, Wind and Water, Vehicles, Advanced Manufacturing, Biofuels, Buildings, Fuel Cells, Weatherization, Geothermal, Strategic Programs, and Federal Energy Management). One of the most exciting announcements for the web technology community was the official unveiling of three new government application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide rapid access to raw and frequently updated data:
- API for electricity generation, consumption, and retail sales from the Energy Information Administration,
- API for the “Find and Compare Cars” data on the FuelEconomy.gov site, and
- API for biomass data from the “Billion Ton Report.”
In addition to highlighting entrepreneurs and new datasets, the Energy Datapalooza also included new Challenges to spur additional innovation. EERE announced that it will formally launch a $50,000 Challenge on December 1 for new technologies that improve vehicle efficiency while also protecting against distracted driving. Those looking for additional information on this Challenge and other open data events can follow @ProjectOpenData on Twitter.