Magic of the Commons

Depending on your point of view, our collective energy needs may reflect either the tragedy of the commons, or a unique opportunity for increased collaboration, interconnectivity and grid resilience. With the wealth of open data now available freely in the US (and worldwide), we tend towards the latter.

Open Data mashups with our APIs create real power

There are numerous sources for open energy data. Here are some sources with rich datasets: energy.data.gov, openei.org, Linked Governments, factual.com, infochimps and others. As well, there are tons of APIs that provide real value, for example: Commercial Building EnergyIQ, PVWatts Grid Data Calculator, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Home Energy Saver, Texas Energy Load Predictions, California Load Profiles, Google Prediction API, to name a few.

We’re co-sponsoring CleanWeb Hackathon in SF on September 10 & 11, and urging developers to mash-up these open energy datasets and APIs together with our timely and accurate electricity pricing data, and calculator. Though the possibilities are literally limitless, here are 7 hack ideas that we think would have tremendous value:

1. Solar Hack
Solar irradiation often coincides with peak electricity pricing. Mash-up: US Solar Irradiation Data with Genability Electricity Time-of-Use pricing plans, and provide true solar energy value forecasting.

2. Smart Meter Hack (Texas)
Smart Meter rollouts are happening right now. Mash-up: create a ‘View your SmartMeter data (energy use)’ coupled with electricity pricing data on any web-enabled device.

3. Energy Visualization (& Cost) Hack
There are numerous open source web-apps for processing, logging and visualizing energy data, and energy monitors, out there. Check out for example: openenergymonitor and itselectric. Mash-up visualization with electricity pricing, and add tremendous value with notifications of peak pricing events.

4. Commercial Building Hack
Within the next 3 years approximately 1.25 million small and mid-sized businesses will be defaulted to a Critical Peak Pricing plan in California alone. Mash-up accurate pricing from our APIs, load visualization (see above), notifications and even the rich EnergyIQ dataset to provide businesses real power over their energy.

5. Appliance Energy Cost Hack
Mash-up: Use appliance energy consumption data to estimate power consumption of appliances (even allow scan-in capabilities with the Redlaser SDK), and mash-in the relevant electricity pricing data relevant to the customer through our APIs.

6. EV Charging Cost Hack
Electric Vehicles are coming online. And so are varying tariffs for charging them. Access the accurate EV tariffs through our APIs, and provide a valuable mobile app to EV owners.

7. Time Shifting Hack
Not all kWhs are created equal. Mash-up an Energy Visualization Hack (above) with projected savings from time shifting energy-intensive activity, and provide real savings to homes and businesses.

Those are just a few thoughts. We encourage others to post their thoughts and ideas too! Please also feel free to contribute your ideas for energy hacks in comments to this post. We look forward to seeing you at the CleanWeb Hackathon.

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