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At the Department of Energy, we focus on using transformative science and technology solutions to ensure America’s security and prosperity. Data is a key ingredient to this mission, which is why we are so excited about the Open Data movement.
We believe providing open access to energy data can accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and empower entrepreneurs to build new products and services. We have several exciting ongoing initiatives to increase access and use of our data:
First, we are working to catalog all of our public data assets in a standard format and make them available. These data sets are currently spread across the agency and our National Laboratories. We want to make these resources easier to find, and so we have created a public data listing. This data listing is used to populate data catalogs like the one at www.data.gov and make existing catalog resources like OpenEI.org even better. The department is committed to adding to this list and keeping the data up-to-date.
Second, we are engaging the public in an open data conversation through two data/developer challenges:
- The American Energy Data Challenge: In the first part of this challenge, we asked the public for great ideas for using energy data to solve some of America’s biggest challenges. We received many excellent entries, and we are now inviting the public to vote on the ideas they think are the best. In the second part of our contest, we’ll be inviting developers to put these ideas to work by building new apps and services that use energy Open Data.
- Sunshot’s “Help Solve Solar’s Big Challenge -- 10 Million Dollar Incubator Challenge” is asking for outside-the-box ideas to lessen solar’s hardware and soft costs. The Department is convinced some of the solutions to tackle this challenge will be driven by software innovations. We are looking for big thinkers, data geeks, app developers, software engineers and others to devise new approaches to attack soft costs.
Finally, the Department is continuing to expand its use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to provide programmatic access to some of our most popular and valuable data resources. For example, over the past year the Energy Information Administration has been trialing a set of powerful APIs that allow developers to interact with their energy statistics data collection more easily than ever before. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has also created a number of APIs allowing developers to access tools like a solar energy resource finder, vehicle gas mileage estimates and a utility rate database, among others.
We are strong believers in the power of Open Data. Through these efforts, we hope to increase the value of our data resources, and empower the public to use our data in ways we never imagined. We can’t wait to see what you build!