Build file extravaganza

Didn’t get to spend as much time working last week as I had hoped. Most of my time ended up being spent getting fully up to speed on the Ivy-based build files for the hackystat-developer-example project. The good news is that we got all (most?) of the bugs worked out, so WattDepot is now using the improved build files. The changes needed to customize to WattDepot are also very localized (mostly in build.xml), so I should be able to easily incorporate any future changes.

I did glance through the Google Visualization data source API, and Google provides a Java library that does all of the heavy lifting. This definitely looks like the way to go for visualizing the data.

(Overly ambitious) plans from last week:

  • Finish getting WattDepot build environment working
    • done
  • Get WattDepot responding to ping API (ala Hackystat sensorbase)
    • done, even has a unit test
  • Read through sensorbase REST API
    • not done
  • Read Google Visualization data source API and libraries
    • only glanced at it, but looks like I can use the Java library and not the raw API
  • Start work on WattDepot REST API
    • not done
  • Write down initial thoughts on research questions
    • not done
  • Start porting over Derby code from sensorbase to WattDepot
    • not done or even thought about

Other accomplishments from last week:

  • Helped test and debug the latest version of the Hackystat build environment
  • Paid for my classes & fees. Hoping for a refund via tuition waiver 🙂
  • Attended the Hawaii Clean Energy Festival, didn’t win anything exciting. Mostly the same folks who had booths at Hawaii Clean Energy Day back in June.

Pointers to work products:

Plans for this week:

  • Read through sensorbase REST API
  • Start work on WattDepot REST API
  • Read up on Google Visualization data source library
  • Write down initial thoughts on research questions

Cool links:

  • This cool website displays the carbon-intensity of the UK electrical grid based on (near-real time?) data from UK utilities. The great thing about it is that it displays the carbon intensity like a traffic light, so you can use it to make decisions on the use of appliances like dishwashers. It would be great if we could get similar data from HECO.
  • Sensorpedia says that it is a Web 2.0 system for sharing all types of sensor data. It’s in an invitation-only beta, and the public information on the website is thin. Something to keep an eye on.

6 thoughts on “Build file extravaganza

  1. Robert Brewer Post author

    Thanks Damon! So nice to see utilities making this kind of data available. I think your page is still a good source, as you provide more detail on how you have reached the conclusion for the traffic light state.

  2. Damon Hart-Davis

    Just for the record (as I stumbled across this page again!) it isn’t the utilities themselves, this data is provided by National Grid’s subsidiary Elexon, the ISO (Independent System Operator) for the grid for Great Britain (ie Scotland, Wales and England but not Northern Island).

    The data availability was a little flaky but it looks like Elexon’s put in some work behind the scenes to improve reliability, which has saved me reworking the code to use an alternate interface, at least so far! B^>



  3. Robert Brewer Post author

    Thanks for the clarification Damon. Here on Oahu, there is one utility company that provides all electricity, though they do buy some from 3 independent power providers. We are envious of your data. 🙂

    So in GB, Elexon runs the grid but the actual power plants are run by other organizations?

  4. Damon Hart-Davis


    National Grid plc runs the grid, Elexon (owned by National Grid plc) provides “balancing” services eg coping with deviations from forecast demand and spikes and slumps. They don’t run generation equipment (at least not on any significant scale).

    At the retail end of the wires are the DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) who ship the power to the majority of end users. These are owned by, but legally behind a chinese wall from, the ‘big six’ generators of electricity.

    There are also some generators that are have no DNO operations/infrastructure, and retailers that make use of DNO services etc but have no actual wires.

    Complicated, but the upshot is that more or less any any user can buy power from whichever retailer they wish who in turn can source that power from whichever generators they wish, MWh by MWh, and the National Grid and the DNOs must ship the power over their otherwise-monopoly infrastructure in a reasonable and non-discriminatory way.

    For example, I buy power at home from a small independent ‘green’ (all wind) generator and retailer called Ecotricity, and their power, mixed in with power from other sources of course, is shipped across the National Grid and through the wires of my local (French-owned EDF) DNO.

    Does that help? B^>



    PS. Some more DNO info for you from National Grid’s site:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s