‘Data leads you to the solutions’ – Energy DigData Challenge Workshop Concludes
Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) hosted an interactive virtual energy data workshop to better inform grant applicants on the power of data and its use in finding solutions to current issues the energy sector faces in Kosovo.
Approximately 50 interested applicants attended the workshop to listen to different widely known data experts and speakers from international institutions and companies. Throughout the workshop, the participants learned about the priorities and constraints of Kosovo’s energy sector. Participants also familiarized themselves with both the Challenge goals and the available data on energy use, energy efficiency, tariff setting, revenues, investments, and losses in the energy sector. They also gained an understanding of open data guidelines, data analysis, and visualization tools.
In his opening remarks, MFK CEO Petrit Selimi considered #DigData Challenges to be among the most innovative projects facilitated by the MFK Threshold Program. “Not only do they enable greater transparency by encouraging public institutions to share data, but #DigData Challenges also serve as a great platform to bridge the government with the private sector, academia, and CSOs, and build a sustainable collaboration in solving societal and economic challenges, based on accurate information and data”, Mr. Selimi highlighted.
Sarah Olmstead, MCC Country Director, remarked that this workshop is an excellent way to learn more about how we can use data to answer challenging questions around policy-making and energy efficiency. “The environment we live in needs data, rather than opinions on what is causing issues, because data helps us alleviate these challenges and drives us to the solutions”, Mrs. Olmstead added.
Meredith Perry, Open Innovation Advisor (Innovation Division, Democracy, Development and Innovation, USAID) highly valued the efforts and partnership of MCC and MFK, while expressing her excitement about the impact and the solutions that will come out of this open data competition. “Such open data competitions allow us to test new approaches and open up to development; they build partnerships between innovators, private sector, CSOs, media, and the Government, thus creating a foundation to achieving sustainability”, she added.
One of the guest speakers, Anne Dougherty, Founder and Co-Owner of Illume, walked the attendees through her work at Illume while stressing how the use of data science and social science supports greater knowledge and solution development in the US energy industry.
Ian Ferguson, oPower Solution Consultant, talked about the importance of data on the success for both the company and for customer satisfaction. He states that a great amount of time at oPower is spent looking at data to identify how the firm might be able to solve specific problems, both in the US and internationally.
At the end of the workshop, Megi Pishtari, Grant Specialist at MFK, introduced the interested applicants to the application process while answering questions and clarifying any uncertainties about the DigData Challenge.
Earlier this month, MFK launched the DigData – Open Data Challenge on Energy, inviting open data movers, shakers and opinion-makers, start-ups, civil society, the private sector, academia, journalists, designers, technology innovators, and creative problem solvers, to submit proposals on how open data could be used for better energy choices and policies. The deadline for submitting innovative solutions is March 15, 2021.
DigData Open Data Challenge is an activity implemented by Millennium Foundation Kosovo, an accountable entity responsible for implementation of the $49 million Threshold agreement, signed by the Republic of Kosovo and Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2017. MFK’s mission statement calls for accelerating Kosovo’s transition to energy independence and good governance. Kosovo Threshold Program addresses two key constraints to Kosovo’s economic growth: an unreliable supply of electricity; and real and perceived weakness in rule of law, government accountability and transparency.