Using big data in predictive analysis and connected objects is providing a breeding ground for deploying renewable energies in the territories. Like Paris and Lyon, French metropolises have begun sharing and cross-referencing data from urban actors (electricity producers, transport networks, communes and individuals). They can map and easily analyze their functioning and its environmental impact.

Along with these developments, the ‘Energy Transition for Green Growth’ Act is also facilitating this transition. The Act was passed in August 2015 and it became a reality in 2016 with opening up of data taken from energy network operators and providers of petroleum products.

For regional authorities, this is the sine qua non to analyze consumption and thus to direct their policy around network strengthening and energy efficiency.

With the deployment of smart meters (named Linky in France), companies can control electricity production in real-time and similarly, consumers can monitor and control their consumption in real-time so that they are billed according to their real electricity consumption behaviors. Ultimately, the objective is to decentralize the network to a ‘peer-to-peer’ model in which consumers share resources.

Communities want uniform and secure data

However, communities face three challenges in achieving energy transition. The first challenge is standardization of data: some data is at the level of communes, departments and some at Iris scale (small district with a mean of 2000 inhabitants).

Secondly, acquiring and maintaining high value data is costly. So, sharing the means of data collection, processing and analysis should be encouraged. Actors such as regional energy and environment agencies are seen as trusted third parties but their role can be given to private companies.

And the third challenge is securing data sharing: how to strike a balance between effective energy transition planning, respecting public safety and confidentiality and the degree of openness of data? This will remain a challenge ahead big data professionals for the next few years.