April 7, 2020 by Audrey Lobo-Pulo, Gift Egwuenu
Energinet is preparing for a new future of renewable energy using integrated open energy data on a CKAN platform in collaboration with Datopian.
# “What we like about Datopian is that they just know what needs to be done. They understand our needs and we have a good relationship.” – Heidi Bøjlesen
An independent public enterprise owned by the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, Energinet is on a social mission to change the energy system so that citizens and businesses use only renewable energy that is both secure and at an affordable price. By providing open data on energy consumption of electricity and gas, Energinet offers energy consumers and suppliers a DataHub for a more transparent and efficient market.
In the coming years, Energinet will be looking to explore four potentials: sector coupling; large-scale off-shore wind power; solar and wind power on market terms; and collaboration with society. Datopian’s CEO, Paul Walsh, spoke with Energinet’s IT project manager, Heidi Bøjlesen, to learn more about the role data plays in their mission.
Paul: Heidi, could you please tell us a bit about your role at Energinet?
Heidi: I’m a Senior IT project manager for the Energy Data Portal (EDP), which is a data portal for all the open data about energy, wind, sun, power, electricity and gas – and we’re trying to collect all the datasets on one data portal, instead of 3 or 4 portals like we have now.
Paul: Great – so let’s talk more about the data related software – I know that there are several different data platforms, so could you tell us more about what you’re using to manage data in Energinet and what’s the goal? Is the goal related to publishing the data for public use or use by businesses?
Heidi: We’re working on a CKAN platform for all our datasets – and it has been a strategic choice to use CKAN. The goal is to be transparent, so that the Danish and European people can see the Danish energy datasets. So we want everybody to know what we’re doing – many schools are also using the datasets for their projects. The Minister and our government is also using these datasets – and that’s very important to us.
Paul: That’s very interesting – that schools are using this data – do you know a bit about how it’s being used in schools? Is it part of the curriculum?
Heidi: Yes, they sometimes need to do a school project on wind power or solar energy. For example, how much power the Danish people use on Christmas Eve – they can see how high the electricity consumption is at 6pm in the evening, but when Danish people gather around the Christmas tree the consumption is very low. Because we turn off all the lights then in Denmark.
Paul: That’s really interesting – and this is a bigger question – but it would be great if the accessibility and the use of these energy datasets can directly or indirectly lead to changes in energy consumption. And having the datasets allows you to ask some interesting questions…
Heidi: Yes, also on our website, we have a ‘land card’ over Denmark, and all the data that’s on there, like the wind data etc., comes from our datasets on CKAN. We have a lot of transparency and we use CKAN a lot for that – and the aim is to collect it all on one site. So that people don’t have to search for where it is, they go to the data portal.
Paul: Sure, so that’s quite important then – that the data gets consolidated at a central place that’s discoverable, accessible and can be reused from that central location.
Heidi: Yes, also the data portal is quite useful for inspiration and ideas – so if you have some good ideas, you can go through the datasets to see information about wind data, for example etc. People can get some good ideas by using the site. They can also give us some ideas on datasets that we could try to put out.
Paul: That’s great. So how did you come to start working with us at Datopian?
Heidi: We started working with Datopian before my time here, we worked with you for our procurement, and after that Rufus took over and Anu came in. And we have a very good collaboration – especially with Anu – he understands us Danish people! I know my programmers just want to talk to Anu – so we have a good relationship!
Paul: That makes me really happy to hear! We work with lots of different clients, but it’s really great when someone from the technical team has a direct relationship with the client, and can also talk with the client at a non-technical level about technical work. That’s not always easy – that’s actually one of the challenges of doing services work around technology. So it’s really encouraging to hear that.
I know that Rufus was heavily involved last year and helped set up everything – and that you’re able to work directly with Anu in a way that’s been helpful and works for you.
Heidi: I know it’s really difficult – also when there’s another language and culture involved. But Anu is very understanding – and he also understands Danish humour! And Evgenya is also very responsive. What we like about Datopian is that when we talk to the team, they just get on with the job – they just know what needs to be done, and don’t really need a big explanation. They understand our needs, so we have a good relationship. And if we don’t really understand something, Anu explains it to us. What we also like is that they give us good advice, feedback and sometimes challenge us – which we really like. It’s really a collaboration between us!
Paul: So where do you see the next steps? How do you see the data portal developing from here? What do you have in mind for the future?
Heidi: I know we want to develop the CKAN work further – there are a few ideas, but we’ll need to get back to you about the future work developments and directions. Right now, we’re seeing how people are taking it in and hopefully it will come together soon!
Paul: I see, so the next step is to launch and go public with the work that’s been happening, get some feedback from the users and see where things go.
Datopian delivers outstanding solutions that enable your organization to realise your data’s potential. From hosted data portals powered by CKAN to specialised data engineering, from agile data practices to data strategy development, Datopian empowers you to transform data to insight.
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