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Agence ORE – creating a one-stop shop for energy data

Agence ORE

To be truly useful, energy data needs to be comprehensive and easily understandable by all - read how Agence ORE is delivering on this need through its unified energy data portal.

VP of Marketing , Opendatasoft
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Data is essential to driving the energy transition by increasing collaboration, boosting efficiency, and keeping stakeholders and regulators fully informed.

Successfully delivering the energy transition requires a complete ecosystem approach, bringing together all players and enabling them to collaborate to reduce emissions, increase the use of renewable generation, and meet changing customer and partner needs. Data is central to driving this collaboration.

However, with a large number of businesses involved in the distribution of gas and electricity, ensuring that data flows freely between them – and is available to stakeholders such as local authorities, consumers, producers and regulators – is essential to effective decarbonization.

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To meet this need for greater collaboration, Agence ORE was created in 2017 to bring together all French electricity and gas distribution system operators (DSOs). Members span the largest operators, with over 100,000 customers, to smaller players who operate on a more regional level. It provides a single, freely accessible space for sharing data and digital services on energy distribution across the country. This helps both to drive the energy transition and ensure the effective functioning of energy markets.

When it comes to sharing energy data the ecosystem faces four key challenges:

Volume of available data

There has been an enormous growth in energy data, such as from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, smart meters and load-balancing/flexibility mechanisms. Processing and turning this raw data into useful insights can be complex and require specialist data skills and expertise.

Regulatory requirements to share

Legislation mandates that energy organizations open their data, whatever their size and resources. While the largest DSOs have created their own open data portals, smaller players may not have the resources or in-house skills to efficiently collect and publish data required by the regulator.

Growing number and range of users

Players need to engage and share data with a growing ecosystem of existing and new stakeholders. These include renewable producers, mobility providers, aggregators, prosumers and local authorities. All of these groups want access to relevant data to plan their operations, create new services and help drive the energy transition.

The need for a seamless customer experience

Stakeholders want to access and compare specific information rather than raw data – often the information they require comes from different DSOs, meaning it can be difficult to bring it together in a way that is reliable and provides confidence in its quality. Quickly finding the right data asset can be hard given the number of portals and datasets available in different places online.

Agence ORE overcomes all of these challenges through its unified portal. This provides a one-stop shop for all data owned by gas and electricity distributors in France. Data from the portals of the largest players (both distributors and transporters) is automatically synchronized onto Agence ORE’s portal, while the Agence ORE site itself also hosts the data of around 120 smaller companies to upload and share the data required by the regulator, without them having to create or manage their own sharing site, increasing their efficiency and reducing costs. This mutual approach means that every DSO can embrace open data, either through their own portal or pages on the Agence ORE portal.

The result is that stakeholders have a seamless experience – they can visit a single site and be confident that they will be able to find the data asset that they require, whoever the producer is and whether they are interested in electricity, gas or multi-energy data. Data is standardized so that it is easily comparable between distributors, further reinforcing user confidence. The user experience is harmonized and consistent, whether being accessed via the Agence ORE portal or the separate open data portals run by large DNOs such as Enedis or GRDF. This collaboration helps stakeholders find the information they need, across the ecosystem.

 

Agence ORE

Turning data into insights

One of the central aims of the Agence ORE portal is to maximize the value of energy data to all stakeholders. That meant not just making raw data available for download and via APIs but providing the context and visualizations to turn it into understandable, usable information for all.

To achieve this the portal now connects to over 200 interactive data visualizations, covering key topics such as the overall gas and electricity distribution grid, production volumes, consumption, and relevant comparative statistics from across Europe. Some data visualizations have been contributed by DSOs, some by government/international bodies (such as the EU), while Agence ORE itself has created many, based on aggregating data from multiple sources.

Essentially, it means that whatever the requirement for energy data about the French market, it can be easily found and visualized via the portal. Organized by theme and fully searchable, visualizations are backed up by clear notes to give context to the data, explaining its source and any enrichments that have been made, with time frames stretching back to 2011 to provide long-term comparisons.

 

Agence ORE portal

Importantly data visualizations are fully interactive, with the ability to drill-down to the level of individual towns or villages. In particular this helps local governments to understand the situation in their area, informing their plans for decarbonization and the energy transition.

 

Visualization Agence ORE Agence ORE map

Bringing the energy ecosystem together

The Agence ORE site not only shares open data, but also provides a space for the entire ecosystem to interact and collaborate. As well as public data, it contains a range of private datasets that are only accessible to local authorities, due either to their sensitivity or not being of interest beyond specialists.

Additionally, Agence ORE hosts a unique public forum that allows anyone to ask questions about specific datasets, with answers provided by over 150 experts from data producers. These answers are published on the forum as well as being available on the dataset itself. This feedback loop helps democratize sharing, increasing confidence in data and ensuring that the information being published fully meets the requirements of all stakeholders. It brings an e-commerce-style marketplace experience to the world of energy data.

 

Forum expert Agence ORE

Democratizing data across the ecosystem

To drive greater usage of data by all, Agence ORE is focused on democratizing data access. It has created a large number of data visualizations to explain data in a straightforward way, and adopted standard metadata templates to make discovery and interoperability seamless. Additionally, to help spread a common data culture, Agence ORE runs a program of masterclasses to promote the portal’s data, as well as a campaign to show how all user profiles can find a way to access data that best suits their needs and skills.

 

Agence ORE catalog
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Agence ORE’s portal is built on Opendatasoft’s powerful, all-in-one platform. Not only does Opendatasoft scale to cover the large, growing volumes of data assets being shared by the entire French energy sector, it has the flexibility to securely provide individual pages and workspaces for smaller players, all managed through the same back-end solution to increase efficiency. APIs make it easy to connect to external data sources, such as other portals, solutions, and data visualizations hosted on other platforms.

Users benefit from an intuitive, seamless experience that makes it simple for them to discover and access the data asset they are looking for, whatever their need, without requiring specialist skills or tools. All of this helps increase the sharing of energy data across the ecosystem and beyond, underpinning the energy transition and building a more sustainable future for us all.

Agence ORE discussed the impact of its portal at the Energy Data Summit. Hosted by Opendatasoft, E.DSO, and GEODE, the event brought together over 100 data leaders to share their knowledge, learn from their peers, and network.

Articles on the same topic : Energy Data catalog Data portal Open data

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