NREL makes data public for renewable energy web, mobile apps

By Matt Soberg | October 31, 2011

The U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory makes raw alternative energy data available for web developers through a website interface launched last week. The public data is intended for those interested in advancing renewable energy-related web and mobile applications.  

The site, called the Developer Network and located at www.developer.nrel.gov, allows web developers access to energy data via application program interfaces in various renewable energy categories, including ethanol, biodiesel and electricity. The information is made public once users provide basic contact information. 

 “NREL's new subsite automates that entire process and serves as a seamless data conduit directly from NREL to another organization's application. This is a much more streamlined way of pushing out our information on energy efficiency and renewable energy to the rest of the world. We expect that people will develop all kinds of creative applications and uses for it that we haven't even dreamed of," NREL project manager Johanna Levene said.

The first data set made available is a nationwide list of alternative vehicle fueling station locations, which could be used to create a geographically specific station search engine. "Providing our station data through web services allows developers to slice and dice the information based on their own interests and their own geographical regions," Levene said. 

NREL intends to use Twitter, with the handle @NRELdev, to announce new data sets. Next on the agenda, the site will feature information on all federal and state laws and incentives related to alternative fuel vehicles.