A new paper on open data and "crowdsourcing" can help developing countries make crucial decisions on energy planning.
Decisions on energy policies and associated investment are among the most difficult facing countries – particularly in developing economies. On them may depend billions of dollars, and even determine whether energy services are available to the poor.
The paper, Open Source Software And Crowdsourcing For Energy Analysis, co-authored by nine energy experts including Florian Bauer, REEEP's Operations Director, examines how open data and so-called “crowdsourcing” – the out-sourcing of tasks to a distributed group of people – can assist developing countries. Governmental acceptance and adoption of open data has been growing rapidly with examples ranging from the US and the UK, to Kenya and Ghana.
The document provides a survey of existing research, and also explores the potential role that linked, open data can play in both supporting analysis, and in enhancing public engagement with energy issues. The paper argues that open modelling efforts can improve the utility and accessibility of energy models, and also lower the cost of data collection and management.
“Applying these innovative tools and methods into energy sector analytics will considerably help the job of policy-makers and investors. It will also require ongoing international support” said Morgan Bazilian, the paper’s lead author.
In April 2012, Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, ‘tweeted’, "Open information, open data, and open access to knowledge may turn out to be the most important legacy of the past five years.” Still, the transformative impacts of applying open source software (OSS) and data as well as associated training tools are in the early stages of adoption in the area of energy system analysis.
The paper is being submitted for publication in peer-reviewed literature, and comments are welcome on the draft. The working paper can be found at: http://www.bnef.com/WhitePapers/view/108
It was written by: Morgan Bazilian of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization; Andrew Rice of Cambridge University; Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi, Mark Howells of the Royal Swedish Institute of Technology, Joseph DeCarolis of North Carolina State University, Stuart Macmillan of Stanford University, Cameron Brooks of Tendril Networks, Florian Bauer of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, and Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A final version of the paper will be published in the Elsevier journal, Energy Policy.
A new cost-free reegle Tagging API is now available to anyone who provides online resources in the clean energy field. This API (application programming interface) will automatically tag documents and web content that cover renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate-relevant topics. It can also suggest related documents from the growing pool of content that has already been indexed using the tool.
“Tagging” means that when integrated into a website, this API will automatically scan the site’s content and identify specific terms, concepts and geographic mentions and then apply tags to each so all resources connected with the site are searchable online.
“By automating the tagging process, we can help ensure that content is classified in a consistent way across the entire sector, based on our Clean Energy Thesaurus” notes Florian Bauer, Operations & IT Director of REEEP. “This will help make major depositories of existing information open and accessible, and help promote clean, low-carbon development in the process.”
In addition to the tagging process itself, the reegle Tagging API can also make suggestions for related reading from the web resources already indexed, thus enriching the content of any website. “Sharing your own indexed resources with the content pool can increase the outreach of your documents hugely,” recommends Denise Recheis, expert in knowledge management at reegle.
The reegle Tagging API is available at http://api.reegle.info, where you can also try out its functionality on the spot. Simply cut and paste a block of text, and a demonstration will show all of the concepts, terms and categories that the tool automatically generates. On this site, web developers can register to get a free key for each project, with no limit on the number of keys. When logged in, the dashboard includes a request builder to help developers to build the necessary code.
The service is available in five different languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German. It returns the formats RDF/XML and JSON. The reegle tagging API project is a collaborative effort with NREL (OpenEI), weADAPT and IDS (eldis), and was made possible by support from the CDKN Innovation Fund.
reegle is a leading clean energy information portal operated by REEEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership) and REN21. It offers a range of free services including country energy profiles created from six different linked sources and an online thesaurus of clean energy and climate-related terms. www.reegle.info/
If you’d like more information about the reegle Tagging API or have specific questions, please contact our Denise Recheis, our Thesaurus and Knowledge Manager.