What came out of the Energy Datapalooza?

As part of a continuing effort to promote renewable sources of energy, a new data website about geothermal energy was announced at the “Energy Datapalooza” hosted by The White House, the U.S. Department of Energy and the General Services Administration on May 28.

The purpose of the datapalooza was to talk about databases that could promote more efficient energy use and increase the development of renewable energy sources.

Among the other announcements from the event were the growing number of buildings in the Department of Energy’s energy usage database, a recent Department of Energy study on hydroelectric power and several utility companies agreeing to make more power outage data public.

The Department of Energy announced the creation of the National Geothermal Data System, which is a compilation of more than 40,000 datasets and resources about geothermal energy.

According to the fact sheet released by The White House:

Today, the Department of Energy is launching this resource that contains enough raw geoscience data to pinpoint elusive sweet spots of geothermal energy deep in the earth, enabling researchers and commercial developers to find the most promising areas for geothermal energy.

For instance, there are maps of geological folds in Pennsylvania that were contributed by the Pennsylvania Geological Society and maps of Pennsylvania’s bedrock geology and rock chemistry.

The Department of Energy’s Buildings Performance Database, which lists the anonymous energy usage of over 750,000 buildings nationwide, can be used to compare how energy efficient the buildings in the database are from one state to another. More than 10,000 Pennsylvania buildings are listed online.

The Buildings Performance Database lets users mine anonymous statistical data from real buildings that match a specific building characteristic profile, enabling real estate professionals, contractors, policymakers and lenders to incorporate real-world performance data into their decision making.

—WH Fact Sheet

The White House release also points back to a study the Department of Energy published in April that says there are 65 to 85 gigawatts of untapped energy potential in hydropower. They also published the raw data on a map.

A group of seven utility companies agreed to publish power outage data in a structured, easy-to-use format that will be available to the public. Those companies are Duke Energy, BGE, ComEd, PECO, SDG&E, Southern California Edison and National Grid.

Google said it intends to add power outages to its crisis maps tool. One crisis map example is Google’s map of wildfires in California.

Reach Eric Holmberg at eholmberg@publicsource.org or 412-315-0266.