To say there is a surplus of energy data would be an understatement.
Today’s energy producers have more resources than ever before to understand the energy we use. Why is this the case? Here’s a data chain to consider:
- Government regulatory bodies require utility companies to publish this data.
- Businesses collect data and develop performance benchmarks based on data aggregated from multiple sources.
- The utilities themselves collect data from their equipment.
- This data can then be analyzed to get a clear picture of what is going on plant-wide (or on a more granular level).
In short, we’re swimming in data.
And with vast resources come grand opportunities. Startups can take advantage of this information-rich economy to help energy companies improve their bottom line, produce less pollution, waste fewer of their resources, and run far leaner operations.
What’s available to us today?
The Obama administration mandated public access to the data collected by federal agencies. Better, this data had to be collected in usable formats with APIs that can be integrated into the software platforms that we use. You can view the Federal data portal here.
New York City (of course) has lead the way in this regard, releasing its municipal data to the general public. With over 1,300 data sets, New York is a leader in the release of municipal data. You can view that data here.
The sheer amount of raw, substantial data available is astounding:
- You can see the U.S. Energy Information Administration data here.
- All of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Generating Availability Data Systems (GADS) data here.
- If you want to see the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s data, that too is available.
- And if you want to understand the impact of energy on our air, water and soil, the Environmental Protection Agency has data for you, too.
Not all cities are analyzed equal
Cities and states across the United States are slowly releasing more data. Whether or not a city or state is interested in releasing that data has to do with the amount of pressure from local citizens, industry activists, and lobbyists seeking access to that data. If you want to know what your city is doing to produce meaningful data, good key phrases are: “(City/State) Open Data” or “(City/State) Civic Data”.
Two good jurisdictions to check out are California and Chicago. The open data firm Socrata is pushing the open data initiatives all over the country, even in small towns such as Weatherford Texas. Many of these initiatives have seen diligent lobbying done by organizations such as Code for America.
Real-life applications of energy data implementation
Ultimately, the need for data is driving a burgeoning energy data industry:
- Our firm The Spry Group builds custom data solutions for clients like CoClear, AER, and Tristate Biodiesel, but there are also many other firms working to bring data to us.
- New York Energy Week (NYEW) is hosted by Enerknol, a company that is consolidating all of the energy policy documents in the country onto a single dashboard in order to make it indexable and searchable.
- Enernoc is a leader in Demand Response, helping Fortune 500 clients manage their energy needs.
At the grassroots level, a lot of innovation is happening as companies like The Grid NYC, which are finding cheaper ways to collect even more data for buildings. Community wind and solar projects have a need for data. Brooklyn Microgrid is another innovator, using blockchain technology to track energy transfer back and forth between their members and the macrogrid. This, in turn, demonstrates that the most powerful aspect of the crypto-currency movement is its distributed ledger database that tracks transactions in a peer-to-peer system. Instead of Bitcoin, they are counting wattage!
We’re feeling very bullish about the opportunities in energy data. There’s no doubt that massive companies are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table due to poor analysis of resource management. And firms willing to solve these problems sooner rather than later will see outsized returns.
Next steps for the energy data industry
We think these software applications are the future. Being able to analyze and dechipher this data, thus reducing waste and creating money-saving strategies, will be a gamechanger in a quickly evolving energy industry.
We want to help you navigate this sea of data. We want to help you determine what data is right for your business and work with you to integrate it into your existing systems.