Open Energy Information

U.S. Department of Energy

Facilitating access, use and contribution of worldwide energy data & information


The Challenge

Although much of the world’s energy-related information and data are available as resources on the Internet, they are dispersed among individuals and organizations, available in widely disparate formats, and highly variable in quality and usefulness.  This creates a major challenge for: 

  • Researchers who need to share data to accelerate innovation;
  • Consumers who require timely, accessible data to make day-to-day decisions;
  • Policy makers who need to research effective solutions based on technology capabilities, resource availability, market needs and effective incentives;
  • Entrepreneurs who need to perform due diligence and market assessments based on real data.

The Solution

Open Energy Information (OpenEI) is an open source web platform—similar to the one used by Wikipedia—developed by DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to make the large amounts of energy-related data and information more easily searched, accessed, and used both by people and automated machine processes. Built utilizing the standards and practices of the Linked Open Data community, the OpenEI platform is much more robust and powerful than typical web sites and databases. As an open platform, all users can search, edit, add, and access data in OpenEI  for free.  The user community contributes the content and ensures its accuracy and relevance; as the community expands, so does the content's comprehensiveness and quality. The data are structured and tagged with descriptors to enable cross-linking among related data sets, advanced search functionality, and consistent, usable formatting. Data input protocols and quality standards help ensure the content is structured and described properly and derived from a credible source. Although DOE/NREL is developing OpenEI and seeding it with initial data, it is designed to become a true community model with millions of users, a large core of active contributors, and numerous sponsors.

The Benefit

The OpenEI platform links energy communities and decision makers (including policy makers, researchers, technology investors, venture capitalists, and market professionals) with valuable energy data, information, analyses, tools, images, maps, and other resources. By facilitating access to the best available data, OpenEI may help decision makers reduce missteps and save time and money. The ultimate benefit derived from improved sharing of energy information is the acceleration of energy technology research and the transformation to a clean, secure energy future.

Additional Details

Since OpenEI’s initial launch September 20, 2009, there have been:

  • More than 200,000 web visits from 185 countries
  • Creation of over 40,000 content pages
  • Upload of over 1,500 images and other files
  • Over 110,000 unique visitors
  • More than 2,200 registered users
  • Over 6,000 Twitter followers
  • More than 300 Facebook fans
  • Over 1.4 million RDF triples

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