DOE launches collaborative platform for energy data

Open Energy Information site uses Linked Data approach

The Energy Department is making its energy data widely available to the public via a Linked Open Data platform to enable broader access to data and encourage greater collaboration and transparency.

Open Energy Information is based on the same software that runs Wikipedia, and allows users to not only access Energy's data, but also contribute information.

“This information platform will allow people across the globe to benefit from the Department of Energy’s clean energy data and technical resources,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The true potential of this tool will grow with the public’s participation – as they add new data and share their expertise – to ensure that all communities have access to the information they need to broadly deploy the clean energy resources of the future.”

Linked Data, part of the emerging, collaborative Semantic Web, is a method of exposing, sharing and connecting data via Uniform Resource Identifiers. Using a common framework, data can be shared across applications, enterprises and community boundaries using Resource Description Framework specifications. Thus, users can search for information across applications and in various locations to relate and query information in new ways.

Energy anticipates that the site will be used by government officials, the private sector, project developers and the international community to promote clean energy technologies nationally and globally. In the future, the agency intends to expand the portal to include online training and technical expert networks.

The site, launched as part of a broader effort to improve the agency’s data transparency and collaborative efforts, follows guidelines set by the White House’s Open Government Initiative.

Energy worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other national laboratories to develop and populate the site, which includes more than 60 clean energy resources and data sets, including maps of worldwide solar and wind potential, information on climate zones, and best practices. OpenEI.org also links to the Virtual Information Bridge to Energy, a data analysis hub that will provide a dynamic portal for better understanding energy data. NREL will continue to develop, monitor and maintain both sites.

Simultaneously, Chu announced that the agency is contributing various tools and data sets for Data.gov’s National Assets program. The information is available in RSS and Extensible markup Language feeds. The publicized data is geared toward increasing access to information on publicly funded technologies that are available for license, opportunities for federal funding and partnerships, and potential private-sector partners.

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