‘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 importance towards finding solutions to current issues we are facing in regard to the energy sector in Kosovo.
Around 50 interested applicants attended the workshop to listen to various widely known data experts and speakers from international institutions and companies. Throughout the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to gain information on the priorities and constraints of Kosovo’s energy sector, understand the Challenge goals, understand the available data on energy use, energy efficiency, tariff setting, revenues, investments, losses in the energy sector, etc., as well as gain 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 within the Threshold Program of the MFK. ‘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, pointed out that this workshop is an excellent way to learn more about how we can use data to answer some challenging questions around policy making and encouraging 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.”
One of the guest speakers, Anne Dougherty, Founder and Co-Owner of Illume, walked the attendees through her work at Illume stressing the use of data science and social science to support greater knowledge and solution development in the energy industry in the United States.
Ian Ferguson, oPower Solution Consultant, talked about the importance data has on the success of the company and customer satisfaction. He states that a great amount of time at oPower is spent looking at data and trying to work through that data to identify how they might be able to solve specific problems in the States and internationally.
At the end of the workshop, Megi Pishtari, Grant Specialist at MFK, introduced the interested applicants with the application process while answering questions and clarifying any uncertainties with regards to 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, agreed between 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.