Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Energy Datapalooza!

My name is John Gorman and I was one of the folks initially involved in starting the SolarNetwork platform, and am a director of Greenstage Power Ltd. SolarNetwork is a software platform for the the acquisition  storage, visualization and analysis of energy data from distributed and heterogeneous sources. In fact, it will do more than that now, thanks to Greenstage Power's efforts, but this is my first Greenstage Blog entry,  so hello!

Back in May 2012, I was invited to attend an Energy Data Jam at Stanford University, to help brainstorm how the use of open government data in the U.S. could serve as a catalyst to innovation in efficient energy use and conservation. Split into groups, we dreamed up and presented to the full group (about 40 people) a dozen or so "apps" that used government datasets.  At that meeting, U.S. CTO Todd Park told us it wasn't just about brainstorming, it was about really coding these apps, in 90 days.

Following up from the Energy Data Jam,  I was invited to represent SolarNetwork at the Energy Datapalooza in Washington DC on Oct 1, 2012. This was the conference organized by the OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) an arm of the White House whose mission is to drive innovation and advise the president on technology changes and opportunities. The Energy Datapalooza was focused on celebrating the release of a number of open APIs allowing access to government data sets, and to highlight the entrepreneurs who were already starting to leverage those APIs for new products and services. From census data, to auto efficiency standards, to near real-time electricity usage, the APIs exposed a huge amount of valuable data and developers were busy doing mashups and apps that used it. A lot of credit should go to two guys who were really energetic in making this a reality: CTO Todd Park and EDI (Energy Data Initiative) Director Ian Kalin. Their passion for opening up data as a  catalyst for innovation and their bold, aggressive and open approach to welcoming experimentation is really appreciated. I think that once the GreenButtonConnectMyData API is opened up, (to be released soon) we're going to see some very interesting applications appear. One very interesting speaker at the Energy Datapalooza was Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy. A Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Dr. Chu spoke about the role of data streams and core technology as a fuel for innovation, and mentioned the impending falling prices of both PV and deep-cycle storage, with some very interesting applications coming up. We are of course eager to hear more, so we'll stay tuned!

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