New tool addresses 4 key energy data needs to improve decision-making

Energy services are central to most aspects of life. At both individual and collective levels, energy enables the fulfillment of needs such as heating, cooling, cooking, and lighting. Energy services also power activities that are at the core of society, like agricultural and industrial production and the transportation of goods and people.

The power sector represents about 20% of final energy consumption, and 42% of energy greenhouse gas emissions. Power enables electricity access and the benefits that come with it. Nonetheless, the current landscape of power systems has major downsides, like causing climate change, air pollution, increasing water use and exposure to natural hazards. Therefore, the major goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy, as stated in the 7th UN Development Goal.

The Global Energy Data Commons project (GEDC) was developed to provide timely energy data for decision-makers. The project is a collaboration of WRI with Duke University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Purdue University. The GEDC project was developed with a user-centered approach, leading to interviews with 70 distinct organizations including companies, academics, NGOs, investors, governmental and intergovernmental organizations, multilateral development banks and others in the private sector to understand their energy data needs.

Through this process, we found 4 key needs across this space:

  1. There’s a significant need for information that can support an improved understanding of energy system risks from natural hazards, like wildfires, hurricanes and floods.
  2. There is a lack of open, interoperable energy sector data that enables universal application of and access to the latest science needed to inform multi-hazard risk management.
  3. Data managers and end-users struggle to find accessible and relevant energy data that meets their needs, across hundreds of datasets.
  4. There is a strong need to coordinate the energy data needs and how they are met, across institutions, data publishers, and platforms.  

Power sector country profiles

For a main outcome of the Global Energy Data Commons project, we translated these user needs into a new tool within the Resource Watch platform to serve as hub for enhancing the understanding of the power sector through the presentation of new key data assets including natural hazard data.

The Power Sector Country Profiles provide a world-wide overview of this crutial sector, but also allow to filter by country, providing more detailed, localized insights. Explore the Power Sector Profiles here!

Enter Power Sector Country Profiles: a new tool within Resource Watch that allows users to track country-level indicators on power generation infrastructure, evolving energy demand, and natural hazards such as floods that can pose risks to energy infrastructure, for every country in the world. This gives users a quick snapshot of the status of the power sector in a country, with reliable data from trusted sources. 

The country profiles combine public geospatial datasets on natural hazards and energy demand, with the Global Power Plant Database, which is among the most comprehensive datasets on power generation globally by capacity and fuel type, to show where natural hazards may pose risks to power plants. 

This new tool includes a section for you to overlay power sector assets with data on natural hazards that might impact them. Explore the Power Sector Profiles.

These power sector profiles serve as a starting point for Resource Watch’s growing coverage of natural hazards and climate risk data, which will inform decision-makers across sectors in their long-term planning.  

Visit the Global Energy Data Commons patnership website:

Johannes Friedrich is Director of Climate Data at WRI’s Climate Program.

Tappan Parker is a Project Specialist at WRI’s “Tools, Reporting, and Analysis for Climate” Initiative.

Anders Pedersen is former Resource Watch Director.

Sergio Baldit  is Resource Watch Communications Specialist.

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