Celebrating Innovation and Open Data at the Energy Datapalooza
By Ian Kalin, Presidential Innovation Fellow
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, which was launched by the Administration earlier this year to liberate data as a fuel of innovation while rigorously protecting privacy.
The common thread throughout all the new products showcased at the Energy Datapalooza was that they 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 third-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 20 new datasets and technologies, originating from each of the 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 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 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. In particular, EERE announced that it will formally launch a $50,000 Challenge on December 1st 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 should follow @ProjectOpenData on Twitter.