The Public Utility Data Liberation Project
What is PUDL?
The PUDL Project is an open source data processing pipeline that makes US energy data easier to access and use programmatically.
Hundreds of gigabytes of valuable data are published by US government agencies, but it’s often difficult to work with. PUDL takes the original spreadsheets, CSV files, and databases and turns them into a unified resource. This allows users to spend more time on novel analysis and less time on data preparation.
What data is available?
PUDL currently integrates data from:
EIA Form 860 (2001-2020)
EIA Form 860m (to 2021-08)
EIA Form 861 (2001-2020)
EIA Form 923 (2001-2020)
FERC Form 1 (1994-2020)
FERC Form 714 (2006-2020)
Thanks to support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Energy & Environment Program, from 2021 to 2023 we will be integrating the following data as well:
Who is PUDL for?
The project is focused on serving researchers, activists, journalists, policy makers, and small businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford access to this data from commercial sources and who may not have the time or expertise to do all the data processing themselves from scratch.
We want to make this data accessible and easy to work with for as wide an audience as possible: anyone from a grassroots youth climate organizers working with Google sheets to university researchers with access to scalable cloud computing resources and everyone in between!
How do I access the data?
There are four main ways to access PUDL outputs. For more details you’ll want to check out the complete documentation, but here’s a quick overview:
We publish a lot of the data on https://data.catalyst.coop using a tool called Datasette that lets us wrap our databases in a relatively friendly web interface. You can browse and query the data, make simple charts and maps, and download portions of the data as CSV files or JSON so you can work with it locally. For a quick introduction to what you can do with the Datasette interface, check out this 17 minute video.
This access mode is good for casual data explorers or anyone who just wants to grab a small subset of the data. It also lets you share links to a particular subset of the data and provides a REST API for querying the data from other applications.
Docker + Jupyter
Want access to all the published data in bulk? If you’re familiar with Python and Jupyter Notebooks and are willing to install Docker you can:
Run the archived image using
Access the data via the resulting Jupyter Notebook server running on your machine.
The PUDL Examples repository has more detailed instructions on how to work with the Zenodo data archive and Docker image.
Do you want to use Python and Jupyter Notebooks to access the data but aren’t comfortable setting up Docker? We are working with 2i2c to host a JupyterHub that has the same software and data as the Docker container and Zenodo archive mentioned above, but running in the cloud.
Note: you’ll only have 4-6GB of RAM and 1 CPU to work with on the JupyterHub, so if you need more computing power, you may need to set PUDL up on your own computer. Eventually we hope to offer scalable computing resources on the JupyterHub as well.
The PUDL Development Environment
If you’re more familiar with the Python data science stack and are comfortable working
conda environments, and the Unix command line, then you can set up the
whole PUDL Development Environment on your own computer. This will allow you to run the
full data processing pipeline yourself, tweak the underlying source code, and (we hope!)
make contributions back to the project.
This is by far the most involved way to access the data and isn’t recommended for most users. You should check out the Development section of the main PUDL documentation for more details.
Contributing to PUDL
Find PUDL useful? Want to help make it better? There are lots of ways to help!
First, be sure to read our Code of Conduct.
You can file a bug report, make a feature request, or ask questions in the Github issue tracker.
Feel free to fork the project and make a pull request with new code, better documentation, or example notebooks.
Make a recurring financial contribution to support our work liberating public energy data.
Hire us to do some custom analysis and allow us to integrate the resulting code into PUDL.
For more information check out the Contributing section of the PUDL Documentation
In general, our code, data, and other work are permissively licensed for use by anybody, for any purpose, so long as you give us credit for the work we’ve done.
For user support, bug reports and anything else that could be useful or interesting to other users, please make a GitHub issue.
For private communication about the project or to hire us to provide customized data extraction and analysis, you can email the maintainers: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to get occasional updates about the project sign up for our email list.
Follow us on Twitter: @CatalystCoop
More info on our website: https://catalyst.coop
About Catalyst Cooperative
Catalyst Cooperative is a small group of data wranglers and policy wonks organized as a worker-owned cooperative consultancy. Our goal is a more just, livable, and sustainable world. We integrate public data and perform custom analyses to inform public policy (Hire us!). Our focus is primarily on mitigating climate change and improving electric utility regulation in the United States.