In 2016 the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) unveiled the results of a revolutionary new hourly survey for electric power data – the first hourly data collection by any federal statistical agency. The data is collected from 66 electric systems (balancing authorities) and while hourly data is being produced by most balancing authorities, this is the first time it is being done for all the 48 contiguous states in a standardized format. The nearly real-time data provides actual and forecast demand, net generation, and the power flowing between the electric systems.
Why is this data collection important and how was it accomplished?
Due to the lack of sufficient cost-effective storage, electricity is produced at the moment it is used. This makes analysis of the U.S. electric grid challenging. Plus, the previous data collections could only provide monthly data that lagged several weeks in production and annual data that lagged by several months. The new, hourly visibility into the functioning of the U.S. electric grid has several potential applications such as:
1) Assisting federal and state & local governments in tuning their electric regulation policies in a more timely manner
2) Providing nearly real-time information on the recovery of the electric grid after a major disturbance (e.g. hurricanes)
3) Evaluating the impact of renewable power, smart grid, and demand response programs on the power industry, and more.
The technology responsible for the data collection is the Informatica Platform consisting of Informatica Data Exchange, Informatica PowerCenter Data Integration, and Informatica Data Quality along with Informatica B2B for parsing XML files. The automated data feeds come into the Informatica Data Exchange in XML format and are then converted into a relational database format for further processing.
Josh Bollinger, Informatica Developer at The Brite Group, Inc.