Data is at the heart of good analysis. Our policymaking in energy policy depends on it, yet so often we face major data problems. One project funded by the European Commission, entitled EnerMaps, has developed a new tool to help overcome some of these problems. Below is a short version describing the project. A longer version can be downloaded below. Let us know your views.
EnerMaps project: a new open energy data tool to accelerate the energy transition
Currently, energy data is often difficult to find. It is mixed in different repositories, as well as being fragmented, which can slow energy-related project progress, increase costs, and create an overall lack of efficiency in the field of energy.
The EnerMaps project (Horizon 2020 project) will act as a quality-checked database of crucial energy data that will communicate and disseminate data effectively and efficiently using practices to make the data findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-usable, also called the FAIR principle. The project follows the recommendations made for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
The energy data availability issues
Often the legal framework has not evolved as fast as the data is created. Therefore, access to data as well as the management of the data can be problematic in the absence of clear laws.
In terms of quality and quantity of available data, a careful check is often required to understand the existing data correctly. Is the data complete? Rarely – sensors or data recording systems have outages and are not under constant surveillance. Missing data documentation, the so-called ‘meta data’ or ‘data on data’ is the next challenge. In order to avoid misunderstandings and correctly use the data, data sets need descriptions such as the source, SI-units and a contact person for questions. Ideally information about uncertainty ranges would be of great added value when looking at an energy system because we could identify the importance of that data.
EnerMaps open data tool: centralising and checking the datasets
To improve the current situation, a central aim of EnerMaps is to obtain a coherent data management while adapting to the different user needs. We know that the type and the precision of energy data available has strongly increased this last decade and, as a result, different projects which aimed at centralising data in a common platform have been started. However, many projects aiming solely at centralising environmental data have failed or have not managed to interest users sufficiently.
Two search tools available on one gateway
To this end, EnerMaps tool is formed of two connected platforms which adapt to user’s needs. In a first layer, it will use the power of OpenAIRE algorithms to find nearly all energy data with their related publications though a research gateway which has a long-term support. In a second layer, critical energy datasets are selected and visualised after a quality-check process. In this way, we obtain a tool which responds to different data needs, accessing a large number of datasets without drowning the user with too much information. The second layer is based on the tools and software developed during another H2020 project called HotMaps.
Datasets selection and quality check
We are currently at in the early stages of the project. One of the goals of this first stage is to identify and select 50 initial datasets that will form the core of the EnerMaps Data Management Tool. These datasets will provide a sample of the types of data that EnerMaps will provide to our project’s lead and end-users (e.g. researchers, industry, energy managers, energy planners, energy utilities, energy consultants, public administration officers, civil society, etc.).
EnerMaps has the potential to overcome the problems of finding easily and quickly trustable energy data. Data will become findable, completed and documented. Thanks to FAIR users will understand where it is from and know they will have no legal issues. Then they will be able to use it again and again.
The full article is available here.
Jakob Rager, Director, CREM, Martigny (Switzerland)
Diane von Gunten, Co-responsible for R&D, CREM, Martigny (Switzerland)
Eric Wilczynski, PhD Student Researcher, EURAC, Bolzano (Italy)
Simon Pezzutto, Senior Researcher, EURAC, Bolzano (Italy)
Jessica Balest, EURAC, Post-doc Researcher, Bolzano (Italy)
Mostafa Fallahnejad, Associate Researcher, TUWIEN, Vienna (Austria)
Clémence Contant, Communication Officer, REVOLVE, Brussels (Belgium)
 Six Recommendations for Implementation of FAIR Practice by the FAIR in Practice Task Force
of the European Open Science Cloud FAIR Working Group, Edited by: the EOSC Executive Board, October 2020: https://op.europa.eu/en-GB/publication-detail/-/publication/4630fa57-1348-11eb-9a54-01aa75ed71a1/language-en