Unlocking Grid Data Enabling Data Access and Transparency to Drive Innovation in the Electric Grid

December 15, 2016

A white paper jointly authored by:

Tech­Net, Sun­Spec Alliance, and DBL Partners

Down­load the Paper

Data access and trans­parency are foun­da­tional to unlock­ing inno­va­tion in the design and opti­miza­tion of the mod­ern elec­tric­ity grid. The authors and signees below are com­mit­ted to increas­ing data shar­ing across all aspects of grid design, plan­ning, oper­a­tions, and mar­kets, with the goal of enabling the trans­for­ma­tion of how energy is pro­duced, trans­ported and consumed.

With the increas­ing democ­ra­ti­za­tion of the energy indus­try, elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of indus­tries, and cre­ation of new energy mar­kets, the under­ly­ing elec­tric grid is fun­da­men­tally evolv­ing. Tra­di­tional grid plan­ning and oper­a­tions are being reimag­ined in ways that take advan­tage of the increas­ing deploy­ments of renew­ables, dis­trib­uted energy resources, and customer-​​centric tech­nolo­gies. These market-​​based solu­tions can reduce energy costs and min­i­mize infra­struc­ture spend, low­er­ing rates for all util­ity cus­tomers. This new real­ity presents a unique oppor­tu­nity to mod­ern­ize our aging grid and sup­port the decar­boniza­tion of our elec­tric­ity sup­ply. We can and should seize this oppor­tu­nity to reform the grid while max­i­miz­ing cus­tomer choice, increas­ing reli­a­bil­ity, and main­tain­ing pub­lic safety.

In order to real­ize the promise of a mod­ern­ized grid, the under­ly­ing data asso­ci­ated with the grid must be made avail­able to a wide group of indus­try stake­hold­ers and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. Increas­ingly, the prac­tice of grid design and plan­ning is no longer the sole exper­tise of indus­try incum­bents. Broader engage­ment promises inno­va­tion and new think­ing. This paper puts forth the fol­low­ing set of guid­ing prin­ci­ples and detailed rec­om­men­da­tions to advance the data access and trans­parency needed to increase inno­va­tion in grid design, plan­ning, and cus­tomer engagement.


Ben­e­fits of Grid Data Trans­parency and Access

DRIVES INDUSTRY INNOVATION  |  Data democ­ra­ti­za­tion unlocks third party engage­ment, dra­mat­i­cally increas­ing the pace of innovation.

IMPROVES GRID DESIGN  |  Broad indus­try par­tic­i­pa­tion improves grid design, dri­ving a more effi­cient, reli­able, and cost effec­tive grid.

INFORMS CUSTOMER CHOICE  |  Data access improves cus­tomers’ abil­ity to make informed deci­sions about their energy management.

REINFORCES ACCOUNTABILITY  |  Trans­parency increases account­abil­ity of all indus­try par­tic­i­pants, improv­ing out­comes for all customers.

Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples to Unlock Grid Data

SHARE BROADLY  |  Share data broadly as a stan­dard prac­tice, while rec­og­niz­ing appro­pri­ate access qual­i­fi­ca­tions. The elec­tric grid is a pub­lic good; its under­ly­ing data is also a pub­lic good that should be made avail­able in the inter­est of dri­ving inno­va­tion for all stakeholders.

SHARE PROACTIVELY  |  Proac­tively share under­ly­ing grid data sets to fos­ter exper­i­men­ta­tion, even before spe­cific use cases are defined.

DEFAULT TO MACHINE-​​READABLE FORMATS  |  Pro­vide online access to bulk data sets in stan­dard machine-​​readable data formats.

MAINTAIN PRIVACY  |  Adamantly pro­tect cus­tomer pri­vacy, giv­ing cus­tomers con­trol over the col­lec­tion and use of their per­sonal data.

ENSURE SAFETY AND SECURITY  |  Uti­lize best-​​in-​​class tools to pro­tect crit­i­cal data and assets, fos­ter­ing con­tin­ued secu­rity advancement.