Building an ethical energy data co-operative

by Blog

As energy goes increasingly digital it sometimes raises questions about the secretive role that big data plays in our society – a lack of trust that is often justified due to data breaches and misuse. We think co-operatives have a vital role to play here, and we want your input on how we can best address this.

Whether we like it or not we all produce data. It could be through the electronic devices we use, the websites we visit or when switching on a kettle. This data can be used positively to reduce our resource usage, but often it’s used to sell ideas and products to us.

Open Data Manchester is working with us at Carbon Co-op to develop a co-operative model that empowers members to take control of their energy data so that this data can be used to create more effective, trusted and ethical services for the benefit of members, the wider energy co-operative movement and wider society.

Open Data Manchester CIC is a Manchester-based not-for-profit social enterprise, formed from a diverse group of open data advocates in 2010. Their mission is to supports organisations like Carbon Co-op to release data, and help people to use it. This work is an extension of and in support of our ongoing Energy Data Co-op project.

We are looking for input to help us build the concept of what a trusted energy data co-operative could look like, examining what data we create and what data we would be willing to share.

Over the coming months Open Data Manchester will be running a series of workshops to introduce people to the world of data, the data that is collected about us and our communities and what we can do to take control of our data.

We will then look at what data we are willing to share with each other: with people we trust, and with the wider world of big data. We will be asking you what information you would require to reduce your environmental footprint and how we could share knowledge amongst ourselves and with wider society.

Finally we will look at how we would manage a data co-operative so that it represents everyone’s best interests.

This is a great opportunity to learn about data ethics and help shape something that we hope will play a big part in an equitable future energy system. We hope you can join us for all the sessions, but please feel free to join when you can.

Workshop dates:

Introduction to Data

  1. What is data and what does it tells us about where we live?
    Thursday 17th September 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm
  2. Data about ourselves and how to look after it
    Thursday 24th September 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm

Designing a Data Co-operative

  1. Designing an ethical way to share data (workshop 1)
    Thursday 1st October 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm
  2. Designing an ethical way to share data (workshop 2)
    Thursday 15th October 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm

Managing a Data Co-operative

  1. How do we manage a data cooperative? (workshop 1)
    Thursday 19th November 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm
  2. How do we manage a data cooperative? (workshop 2)
    Thursday 21st January 2020, 6.30pm – 8pm

To participate in any of these sessions, please click on the button above and tell us which sessions you would like to attend. All workshops will be held online through Zoom.