Today’s big data revolution is transforming the energy sector. Since 2013, our government has been releasing treasure troves of open data with positive impact for the clean energy economy, entrepreneurs, companies of all sizes, and ultimately our country.
To further unlock the value of its data for public good, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) co-sponsored its first-ever Energy Open Data Roundtable with the Center for Open Data Enterprise on April 29. Held at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Energy Roundtable convened approximately 60 energy data leaders, including participants from the White House, other federal agencies, national laboratories, non-profit organizations, and private industry. Industry participants were diverse, ranging from Fortune 500 companies with commitments to the Climate Data Initiative, to a local incubator for early-stage, energy start-ups.
The goals of the Energy Open Data Roundtable were to:
- gain a better understanding of the uses and successes in using DOE open energy data;
- identify areas for improvement and priorities for DOE open data;
- connect DOE to its data users; and
- foster a dialogue on the access and use of DOE and national laboratories open data.
The day began with a networking breakfast at which three DOE leaders—Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman, and DOE Chief Information Officer Michael Johnson—were recognized and thanked for their commitment to open energy data. Also at the breakfast, 16 Energy Department staff and fellows, including several from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, received Energy Innovation Awards.
The roundtable event started with a keynote address from DJ Patil, who serves White House leadership as the U.S. Chief Data Scientist. He kicked-off the day with an inclusive message that “data science is a team sport” and everyone in the room is united by common goals to further unlock the value of energy data to grow the clean energy economy. Roundtable participants helped in their own way to connect federal agencies with energy entrepreneurs and industry leaders who use DOE open data to create value.
Other speakers throughout the day highlighted recent technological upgrades and open data innovations for online tools and resources. A few examples that have been made possible with DOE support and are free to U.S. citizens:
- DSIREusa.org — Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
- Energy Information Administration (EIA) open API — 1.2 million time series.
- Green Button — empowering American citizens with their own energy usage data, including the industry-led Green Button Alliance recently launched in February 2015.
- OpenEI.org — Open Energy Information platform to help you to find energy information, share your knowledge, and connect.
One of the main takeaways from the Energy Open Data Roundtable is that data must be easy to find, understand, and apply to fuel our clean energy economy. The Energy Department is committed to working with fellow government agencies and the private sector to improve data interoperability and dissemination in a timely manner in order to unleash the full power and potential of energy open data.
Next steps by the Center for Open Data Enterprise include summarizing Energy Roundtable highlights in a report that will be publicly available. In the meantime, DOE will continue focusing on how its open data supports entrepreneurship and jobs creation, while more explicitly increasing U.S. competitiveness in the department’s advanced manufacturing programs like the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.
Have suggestions on a future Energy Open Data Roundtable topic? Please let us know your Open Data Roundtable ideas for the energy sector by emailing Kristen Honey.