Introducing FRED, Enabling Unique Visualization and Manipulation of Energy Data at Multiple Scales

The U.S. Department of Energy, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Planetary Skin Institute recently released a new open platform hosted by OpenEI which enables state and local governments, agencies, corporations, and other energy analysts to effectively visualize energy use data and make energy data more useful for decision-making processes. The Free Energy Data (FRED) platform will contribute to the Energy Data Initiative to make energy data more transparent and adaptable for implementing clean energy technologies.

Energy big data and analytics play a pivotal role in effectively planning for long-term energy solutions, which can save money and help protect the environment. However, such big data is often located in multiple, disconnected locations and presented in hard-to-read or dissimilar technical formats. It is also challenging to compare energy use under different scenarios or between different entities. FRED is designed to address these challenges with a common format for diverse inputs. Users can enter their own data and then use it to compare their performance with other jurisdictions and institutions, or track performance over time. The more users that enter data into FRED, the richer the energy data visualization and analysis experience will become. Given its user-friendly interface and location on the OpenEI website, it is easy for a variety of users to contribute and participate in FRED.

FRED’s seed data is drawn from the Energy Information Administration’s State Energy Data System and Annual Energy Outlook, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory efficiency data, and the Solar Energy Industries Association. It is presented in an intuitive geospatial format which can zoom from the international to the local level. Data at a given level can be viewed in graphical formats which show present and past energy demand by fuel and sector. Based on the Annual Energy Outlook, projections of supply and demand out to 2035 can also be displayed. “Sankey “ energy flow diagrams are particularly useful for visualizing how multiple sectors use different sources of energy, and what portion of this supply is utilized versus wasted. These flows can be viewed for previous years, and have the potential to be instrumental in gauging the potential energy and cost impacts of various energy-related decisions. Free Energy Data "FRED" imageFinally, all of these elements can be compared across multiple jurisdictions by simply clicking on more than one location on the map, thus encouraging greater understanding of regional similarities and differences and sharing of best practices.

FRED’s flexible design and user-driven nature make it a powerful, adaptive tool that will continue to improve with utilization and continual addition of data and additional features. Meet FRED today by clicking HERE. Also, feel free to use this forum to discuss your impressions of FRED, any questions, and feedback to further improve this new resource.