B2G data sharing in energy – 3rd B2G Data Sharing Workshop

city with modern buildings interconnected © IkonStudio - iStock Getty Image
16 Jun 2021

Following the previous workshops, the first of which set the scene for discussing business-to-government (B2G) data sharing among EU cities and communities (1st workshop), and the second which highlighted use cases in the mobility sector (2nd workshop), the 3rd workshop focused on case studies on energy management.

Federica Bordelot from Eurocities, who moderated the discussion, welcomed participants with an invitation to respond to the public consultation on the Data Act, which is very relevant for the discussions on B2G data sharing. She also drew attention to the recently-held Leading the Digital Decade event, which featured the smart cities and communities topics to be supported under the first Work Programmes of the DIGITAL Programme. You can watch the recording of the session here.

The first presentation was given by Helsinki. Aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, Helsinki has launched around 150 different actions, largely based the energy sector. Helsinki has long been working on how best to benefit from all kinds of data for the city, creating dashboards through visualisation tools and implementing a 3D model of the city, both of which are now integral parts of the Helsinki Digital Twin. Access to energy data in Finland is governed by legislation setting out a number of mandatory and recommended data sharing requirements, including the use of open APIs. An important consideration was addressing interoperability between the smart city infrastructure, smart buildings and the smart grid. Energy consumption data collected from private households is personal data and must therefore be handled as such. Helsinki is working on solutions to use a data wallet (based on MyData), allowing tenants to give consent for their data to be made visible to certain service providers. Through their involvement in numerous innovation projects, over the past 10 years, Helsinki has moved from static data to 'data in motion', allowing the city to create a suite of live data products.

Rennes Metropole has benefitted from a French law introduced in 2015, which requires energy suppliers to provide certain data by sector and by community to public authorities. These data are combined with additional datasets are being made available through open data rules. Although it marks a significant improvement, these data are still not precise enough for local policy-makers. In order to address these shortcomings, Rennes created a collaborative framework between Rennes Metropole, the energy provider and the urban planning agency, delivering a large number of common projects. One outcome of this collaboration is a precise mapping, including 'morphological blocks' (the 3D shape of buildings) as well as information on buildings' characteristics, age, roads, local urban zoning, vegetation, etc. This allows the city to understand energy consumption patterns using real-time data for collective housing and individual consumption, while ensuring GDPR compliance. Such data is highly important for the Rennes local digital twin. While the national obligation for data sharing has been very helpful, local cooperation was necessary to ensure implementation through local data stewards. The RUDI (Rennes Urban Data Interface) project has also been very relevant. It demonstrates how governance of multi-lateral data sharing can work at local level.

Milan's experience is rooted in the cross-cutting Smart Cities unit in the municipality, which works on various projects such as the H2020 Sharing Cities lighthouse project. Building on Milan’s smart city platform, the H2020 project aims to create user-centric smart city services co-designed with citizens around low-energy districts, e-mobility, retrofitting of buildings, installation of sustainable energy management systems and smart lampposts. The platform and APIs enable the collection of data from heterogeneous data sources, including building retrofit data. These data allowed the city to calculate thermal energy delivered by retrofit works and to illustrate how the installation of thermal insulation improved comfort conditions for residents in winter. The city also aims to develop an urban digital ecosystem that facilitates the collection, sharing and connecting of data from urban digital services. The gathered data is being made available through an interoperable platform, managing all the APIs describing city services. At present this only covers mobility services, and the next step is to include information on charging stations. A key aspect of this initiative is the need to develop a business model to show that sharing data is beneficial for all parties. These activities will allow Milan to move from a single smart city project to a city ecosystem. A small ecosystem focused on energy monitoring and efficient public lighting already exists in the Lorenteggio smart district of Milan.

The discussion after the presentations highlighted the need to consider whether specific security safeguards may be necessary for the collection, sharing and processing of data both for businesses and local governments, in particular if non-EU companies are involved. Participants also explored how cities can build on national legislation that requires energy suppliers to share data and move to the next level of sharing for more detailed and precise data (in compliance with the GDPR). Additional data could for example help to address the challenge of energy migration. Rennes pointed to the RUDI project currently underway. It is developing governance rules to enable the sharing of data (beyond open data), using anonymisation. Amsterdam decided to use data on housing blocks (rather than individual residences) to ensure privacy and data protection.

Several cities indicated that they are developing data sharing agreement models and consent models; in Helsinki through the 6AIKA strategy (smart cities collaboration of the six largest Finnish cities), while in Rennes they are adapting an app developed by the government to their local situation in order to manage consent for accessing restricted data ('data pass'). Barcelona is planning to conduct a consent survey in as a pilot of around 1,000 citizens. In their evolution from fully open to shared data, Milan has made the distinction between data that could be open (position and status of infrastructure) and data that will be kept closed (energy, power, voltage information); the latter only accessible to the municipality and the in-house company.  The RUDI project (Rennes) is working on the governance of local data sharing through prototyping both the governance and technical aspects of the portal.

The 4th workshop will take place on the 23/06/2021 and will focus on B2G data sharing from the perspective of the business sector.

Draft agenda for the 4th workshop – A private perspective to B2G data sharing with local governments - 23/06/2021

Welcome and introduction by moderator – Federica Bordelot, policy advisor, Eurocities

Perspectives from the business sector

  • AirBnB, Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy EMEA

  • Mastercard, Rita Okcuoglu, Lead for Europe & MEA @ Global Cities, City Possible Business Development and Partnerships

  • TelecomItalia,Giuseppe Morabito, Marketing product manager


Conclusion and next steps

More info on the B2G data sharing workshops


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