Framing the use case
The section describes the FAIRification work undertaken in the use case "Energy communities & energy markets of the EERAdata project. The Energy-by-the-people (ENBP) database was FAIRified and published open access.
Ordinary citizens are coming together through collective initiatives to play an active role in the low carbon transition. Citizen-led energy projects have grown over the past years to produce, distribute, and consume energy from renewable sources while being governed democratically and benefits accruing locally. Statistical evidence going beyond the perspective of single case studies has been lacking. The new database available open access from dataverse.no provides data on more than 10,000 initiatives and 16,000 production units in 30 European countries, focusing on the past 20 years.
Statistics are essential for quantifying the impact of citizen-led engagement in the energy transition. The FAIR and open database can be used to support the construction of likely trajectories for citizen engagement. Data helps with monitoring, goal and policy setting, and impact evaluation of these initiatives, which is increasingly needed to support evidence-based policy action in this field.
Low quality data and metadata are significant impediments for research activities and evidence-based policy making. These shortfalls decrease the ability to locate data and reuse by academia and policy planners. Metadata and data should be descriptive, complete, easy to find, accessible, and machine parsable to enable reuse. Through our FAIRification of a database on European energy communities, the data are now available open access and reuse is encouraged through classification standards and controlled vocabularies.
Technical challenges that had to be solved during the FAIRification of the data include the mining and cleaning of data, the identification of rich metadata, the development and assessment of metadata standards, the development of user-centric query scenarios, and choosing the right platform together with query tools. A workflow was developed which can serve as a model for the FAIRification of other use cases in low carbon research and beyond.