A one-stop shop for electricity data

Lion Hirth shows that pooling power data on one digitalised platform vastly improves energy research.

Pooling power system data in a centralised platform considerably improves the efficiency and quality of applied energy system research, according to a paper by Lion Hirth and co-authors, published in the journal Applied Energy in February 2019. Building on experience with the Open Power System Data platform (OPSD), in operation since 2016, the authors say a central, digitalised platform would reduce the costs of research based on computer modelling of energy systems.

OPSD is free-of-charge and available to electricity system researchers. It collects, checks, processes, documents, and publishes data that are publicly available but currently inconvenient to use. “It does so with high impact: During its short lifetime, more than 40 academic publications have cited OPSD as a source; possibly many more have used it,” says Hirth. “We see the platform as a service to the research community.”

Thanks to European legislation such as the Transparency Regulation, a huge amount of energy data is available. However, it is sometimes hard to find, often poorly documented, and almost always tedious to process. Files are provided in different formats; downloading requires repetitive manual clicking; data structures between different sources are incompatible; daylight savings time and leap years are treated differently; URLs change frequently; and older data are updated without informing users.

 “In the long term, we hope that OPSD provides additional benefits by serving as a proof of concept. It may help to convince the providers of data –  system operators, statistical offices, generation companies, and public authorities – to provide data that is complete and can be easily used for research,” the authors conclude.

Lion Hirth's co-authors are Frauke Wiese of the Technical University of Denmark, Ingmar Schlecht of the University of Basel  and Neon Neue Energieökonomik GmbH, Wolf-Dieter Bunke of Europa-Universität Flensburg, Clemens  Gerbaulet of the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin, Martin Jahn  of Europa-Universität Flensburg, Friedrich Kunz of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and TenneT TSO GmbH, Casimir Lorenz of TU Berlin, DIW Berlin, and Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen, Jonathan Mühlenpfordt of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Neon, Juliane Reimann of TU Berlin and Neon, and Wolf-Peter Schill of DIW Berlin.

Read the paper online here.

More about Lion Hirth

  • Lion Hirth , Assistant Professor of Governance of Digitalisation and Energy Policy