Open Energy Data
We are facing the huge challenge of decarbonizing our electricity grid. The good news is that we're making amazing progress installing renewable generation and batteries and flexing demand. But these millions of diverse, distributed systems must work together by communicating in the same language. The bad news is that today, these systems speak wildly different languages, and so it's very hard for these systems to work together.
Sharing data in the energy system will reduce costs, lower the barrier to entry for innovators, and - the bit that we at Open Climate Fix are most passionate about - help achieve net-zero emissions [Energy Data Taskforce report].
We need to, as a community, define elegant, open standards to allow energy systems to share data whilst ensuring security, privacy and legal protection, and rewarding data owners for sharing their data.
For example, we need to decide on how to collaboratively evolve a vocabulary to describe energy assets; how to uniquely identify physical assets; how to express that - for example - only authorised users can access domestic meter data, but everyone can see data from the grid supply point from which that domestic meter is fed. And, crucially, there are many non-technical problems to solve to enable this web of data.
If we - as a community - get these standards right then, over the coming years and decades, open standards will transform everything in the energy system including network management; demand-side flexibility at scale; electric vehicle smart charging; energy forecasting; resource planning; decarbonisation of heating; community energy; research; policy; coordination of heat, power and transport; the list goes on.
In creating these standards, we must remember that energy companies are already very busy doing a world-class job of keeping the lights on. So any new standard must be as simple to implement as possible. This is a great opportunity to remove the complexity that exists only for historical reasons. What's really needed today? How can we make these standards as easy-to-use as possible, whilst significantly improving the system?
We can also make life easier by glueing together existing parts, rather than reinventing the wheel.
We have worked with Icebreaker One on a proposal for how to support opening up energy data with legal and data permissions structures. We are now focussed on opening up additional PV data - both the metadata to describe systems, and the historical generation data as a use-case which will serve as a really focussed example for sharing energy data more generally, and one that supports our other work. We are lucky enough to be supported by the Open Data Institute in this endeavour.
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