Energinet

Moving towards a decoupled, microservice approach to data portals.

Key facts

Service providers: Datopian

Client: Energinet

Services: establishment of data portals based on CKAN; CKAN extension; data strategy; data engineering

Period: November 2018 – present

Context

Energinet is an independent public enterprise owned by the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities. It is on a social mission to change the energy system so that citizens and businesses only use renewable energy that is secure and affordable. 

The situation

When Datopian took over the contract, Energinet was already on a CKAN 2.6 platform (“CKAN classic”), and wanted to move over to CKAN 2.8. Energinet was also planning some exciting energy data projects and wanted to consult with someone on best data practices. They wanted to create a gateway to their data, so that both members of the public and private organisations could access it. Transparency was a key aim. 

The criteria

Energinet knew they wanted an open-source system from the start and were interested in giving back to the open-source community. They were also interested in moving towards a decoupled, microservice approach to their data portals. Specifically, they wanted to create two frontends for their data: one to allow users to search and download data, and one to let them visualise and explore it via a dashboard. Moreover, Energinet was also interested in more advanced solutions for integrating content in CKAN, as CKAN pages no longer fit their requirements. 

The solution

Energinet approached Datopian for their expertise in open-source data portal software. The first job to be done was to move Energinet over to CKAN 2.8 and depreciate any extensions that were no longer needed. Based on our delivery, Energinet decided to continue working with Datopian and some of our team flew out to Denmark to discuss the next steps. In particular, we were interested to find out their data use cases.

Aside from upgrading Energinet’s existing infrastructure, Datopian also created their new data gateway product.  Energinet now has two frontends for their data: EDS, which allows users to search raw datasets, and EDP, which facilitates visualizations and the creation of apps. 

Outcomes

Energinet’s portals have provided sources of inspiration to a wealth of different user groups. One so-called power-user of the portal is schools, who use the datasets to monitor energy levels at Christmas time, when the Danes traditionally switch off the lights before gathering around the tree. Having the opportunity to observe this considerable dip in energy consumption gives children an engaging, real-life scenario for their learning.

One of Energinet’s portals, DataHub, is the primary energy platform used by Danish energy vendors and consumers alike, with the capacity to process metered data for all 3.3 Danish electricity consumers. When energy grid operators submit meter readings to DataHub, it transfers the information to the applicable electricity supplier, who then bills the consumer accordingly. Danish consumers also benefit from the portal, as they are able to view their own data through either the page of their energy supplier or eloverblik.dk.

What’s next?

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. They are very interested in receiving feedback on their portal and have already made changes based on their conversations with users.

In the long term, Energinet also wants to start to integrate their different portals into the EDS portal, leaving one single source of data.