A Global Community Energy Platform
Started in Scotland way back in 2012 – with support from The University of Edinburgh among others – Energy Archipelago begun as an ambitious attempt to plug the data gap in community energy. The aim was to collect and display data about the sector, to provide a comprehensive overview and evidence base, and provide an excellent dataset for research projects.
Energy Archipelago has been used by countless undergraduate and post-graduate students in their research projects over the last 6 years. It has also been crucial for many UKERC and ClimateXChange sponsored policy research projects and also as a starting point for other data-led projects, such as Community Energy England’s State of the Sector reports, and Local Energy Scotland’s project map.
Having attempted to create a global partnership around the platform – to make the community energy movement more visible – we have ultimately decided that the project is too big for a small organisation like ours. It is with sadness that we will be retiring the platform very soon. We will continue to work in community energy data, though our data sets will remain offline.
A Brief History
Energy Archipelago began with an ambitious project to collect data on Scottish Community energy groups through an extensive surveying exercise in 2012, we released the first of many reports – quantitatively detailing the sector’s progress for the first time.
Alongside our partners, GeoGeo, the first online iteration ‘Scene Connect,’ was developed to showcase the initial 97 community energy projects identified in Scotland. This number soon grew to 400 to include projects across the UK.
By 2017, the new look Energy Archipelago website (below) included over 2000 community energy projects throughout Europe and as far afield as Australia. Creating and maintaining this data has taken the combined efforts of community energy practitioners and researchers from around the world, including Community Power Agency (Australia), the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands), Linköpings Universitet (Swe) and the University of Edinburgh (UK).
Our aims centred on more than just collecting and displaying community energy data, we envisaged a self-supporting portal which would benefit community energy practitioners, specialists and researchers. Towards this aim, crowd-sourcing was implemented, enabling users to edit and manage their community energy data, whilst interactive statistics and news aggregation tools were created to provide a central source of community energy news to site visitors.
Over the last two years, we have been looking for longer term, core support for the Energy Archipelago platform. Scene lacks the capacity and funds to continue to support such a large and ever-growing project and the decision to retire the online platform was taken in June 2018.
Not quite the end…
The collective effort to bring Energy Archipelago to its current state has been immense and one that Scene could never have achieved alone. Though offline, we will continue to use its data to the benefit of the community energy sector.
We encourage any organisation that is willing to invest in site maintenance, that would like to use the platform, to come forward and take it off our hands (totally free!). The site could be used in whole or in part, we are open to organisations seeking to change the scope and purpose of it, with agreement from us. Should nobody come forward we will make the code available to anyone as an open source project in due course.