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Working with energy data sources

Up to now, we have seen different scenarios and technologies. The question is now how they can complement each other over time and in specific regions. Coming from a global level, we are now going to zoom in to country level.

There is a vast amount of sources to find energy-related information about different regions (countries/continents), such as energy balances. Take a look at the balance of your own country. You could also compare that with other countries, if you want to put it in perspective. Is the energy mix dominated by fossil resources or is it a mix with a lot of renewable energy sources? What is other interesting information you can obtain from the sources? The goal of this step is to make you familiar with different types of data sources. In the next step, some examples are provided to show you how the data can be used and applied to specific cases. This is followed by a discussion about the potential for energy technologies, where you should use information from those sources. You can then have an informed discussion about the potential of different energy technologies in the context of your country.


Start to use one (or preferably more) of the following publicly accessible sources to get a first grasp of the energy situation in your country.

International Energy Agency (IEA) statistics - Extensive and easy-to-use tool by IEA. How to use: In the menu on the right, you can find your country and a specific topic and year. Alternatively, you can see the Energy Atlas and Energy balance flows (with the regions on the left column) in the top menu to have a more comparative perspective.

The Shift Portal Data Portal – Uses data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) for visualisation. How to use: the interface on the left lets you choose the energy type/unit and the region/country. In the right bottom, you can export the graph you created as an image (IMG) or spreadsheet (XLS).

Enipedia - Very extensive information per country on electricity production (including an overview of the world’s power plants), flows of natural gas between countries, and much more. How to use: The Wikipedia lay-out makes and the structured headings make this easy to use. Electricity, power plants, and gas are the major topics covered here.

For much more detailed information there are also some paid sources: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/pubs/gesgrid.asp?id=517 http://www.iea.org/bookshop/642-Energy_Balances_of_Non-OECD_Countries


[1] [Rout, U. K., Voβ, A., Singh, A., Fahl, U., Blesl, M., & Gallachóir, B. P. Ó. (2011). Energy and emissions forecast of China over a long-time horizon. Energy, 36(1), 1-11

[2] Amorim, F., Pina, A., Gerbelová, H., da Silva, P. P., Vasconcelos, J., & Martins, V. (2014). Electricity decarbonisation pathways for 2050 in Portugal: A TIMES (The Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System) based approach in closed versus open systems modelling. Energy, 69, 104-112.

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This article is from the free online course:

Solving the Energy Puzzle: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Energy Transition

University of Groningen