The open data movement in Australia may get a boost if the 'Smart Grid, Smart City' project goes ahead, following a successful trial between 2010 and 2013.
This is the view of Smart Grid Australia president Judy Anderson, who believes new data sets created from the project could provide huge opportunities for open data across the country.
"We will certainly be championing it [open data] and encouraging them [the data sets] to be used. The Federal Government is working to step up on its open data [initiative] and getting more datasets out to the public domain, and I think it [the project] is extremely beneficial, she said.
Under the 'Smart Grid, Smart City' trial, led by Ausgrid and the Australian government, huge volumes of data was pooled from renewable energy plants and traditional energy networks, onsite and offsite storage/batteries, and smart devices in homes and businesses in Sydney and Newcastle.
About 8,000 customers participated in the trial and the results were published to the Smart Grid, Smart City Information Clearinghouse website in late July.
This website provides free data from the project for industry members, government representatives, researchers and energy suppliers. It provides registered users with advanced analytical and visualisation tools, and raw data download capabilities.
The smart grid project is combining data from weather forecast, electric transport systems, TV networks anything that could impact energy demand. This data is analysed in real time to predict peak demand, optimise the networks and find the lowest cost solution.
Data sets from smart grids that look at energy consumption in Australia in households and electric transport systems could provide new valuable insights to researchers and technologists who want to create innovative products.
The Federal government is still wading through several issues around sharing this type of information publicly. These issues include the cost associated with ensuring data quality, privacy concerns around the potential to link up bits of anonymous data, and an uncoordinated approach to data sharing among different agencies.
Other issues include a closed culture among some government departments, and making data available in machine readable form.
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