The power of energy data in Illinois and beyond

The U.S. electricity industry is experiencing unprecedented innovation and change. The grid is getting smarter and customers can play a more active role in how their electricity is made, moved, and used. Between all the initiatives that utilities, cities, and states are pursuing and the new services and products that entrepreneurs are creating, it can be difficult to keep up.

That’s why I enjoy connecting with and learning from colleagues at events like the Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resources World Forum. Held in Costa Mesa, California on Oct. 10-11 this year, the forum brings together stakeholders from across the clean energy industry to discuss the latest technology and business strategies for increasing distributed energy resources – like solar panels and batteries – and demand-side resources like demand response. This year at the forum, I’ll be speaking on the power of data, which undoubtedly has a large role to play in our grid’s transformation. With the deployment of modern sensors and smart meters across the U.S., there are enormous quantities of energy-use data at our fingertips for the first time ever. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) believes this data can revolutionize the grid, but only if people have access to data, as well as to the tools needed to control their energy use and electricity bills. With the first-of-its kind Open Data Access Framework, Illinois is making that a reality.

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Illinois’ open data

Conceived by EDF and our partners at the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), the Open Data Access Framework is made up of guidelines for securely authorizing and sharing energy-use data. By clarifying the type of electricity data that customers and authorized third parties have access to and how the data should be delivered, the framework opens the door for innovators to create new tools and services that lower electricity bills and cut pollution.

The framework opens the door for innovators to create new tools and services.

The Open Data Access Framework was finalized by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) earlier this year, and can serve as a playbook for other states interested in providing electricity customers with secure data access.

The ICC also recently approved an energy data-sharing program for Illinois’ largest electric utility, ComEd. The program allows companies and researchers access to anonymous energy-use data from ComEd’s nearly 4 million smart meters, which will further encourage the development of energy-saving products and services designed to help Illinoisans save money. EDF and CUB look forward to using that data to help answer important policy questions, unlock innovation, and make our grid smarter and cleaner.

I’ll be discussing all of these pieces and more at the Demand Response and Distributed Energy Resources World Forum, so come say hi.

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