Bristol hosts national open data energy competition
Innovators from across the UK are gathering in Bristol this weekend (March 22 and 23) to take part in a national competition that will explore how open data can be used by communities to take more control over their energy use.
At the end of the weekend, called the Creation Weekend, three prizes of £5,000 will be awarded for the three best ideas.
The aim is to encourage people to use open data – information which is freely available for all citizens – in a way that allows people to group-buy energy, take action to improve their community’s energy efficiency or help communities generate their own energy.
The event is part of a pioneering Energy and Environment Open Data Challenge, part of a series being run by Nesta – the UK’s innovation foundation – and the Open Data Institute (ODI), an organisation that explores how open data can create economic, environmental and social value.
The Creation Weekend is being hosted by Bristol City Council and is being held at the Bristol & Bath Science Park. Much of the activity will take place in CFMS’s modelling and simulation centre which is based at the Park.
Bonnie Dean, chief executive of the Bristol & Bath Science Park, said: “The UK faces huge energy challenges as we deal with rising prices and issues around energy security.
“We now have access to more data than ever about the nature of our energy consumption and this can be put to great use in developing products and services that tackle these issues and empower communities to come up with solutions. Innovation is at the heart of how this can be achieved so the Science Park is the ideal location for this event.”
Eur Ing (European Engineer) Nick Buckland OBE, CFMS Chairman commented that:
“We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. Millions of gigabytes of data are generated every day from devices such as computers, traffic lights and home appliances.
“The challenge has moved from simply acquiring this data, to making this data work for us – moving from just 'information' to greater knowledge and insight.
“CFMS, with its high performance computing cluster, has the tools and expertise to support innovators to gain such insight which is why we are delighted to support an event such as this.”
Sixteen teams from across the UK will be building and testing their new products, getting feedback on how they are used and then pitching to a panel of judges.
At the end of the weekend, three finalists will be chosen which will each receive £5,000 and support to develop and refine their idea before going to a grand final in the summer where £40,000 will be awarded for the best product.
Bristol has been chosen to host the event because of its highly active community energy sector and, as winner of the European Green Capital Award 2015, the city is a fitting location for it.