Case Study: The Story of World Bank's Energy Open Data Portal and Applications - From Open Data Publication to Sustainable Impact

EnergyData.Info is the most popular and reliable Open Data Portal for Energy. It has been developed as a public good available to governments, development organisations, private sector, non-governmental organisations, academia, civil society and individuals to share data and analytics.


With 189 member countries, The World Bank Group is one of the largest Multilateral International Financial Institutions in charge of funding capital projects across all areas of development across the Globe with the mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. By the nature of its field operation and projects, the World Bank Group is a significant collector and disseminator of data across all areas of development including Energy, Water, Innovation, Transport, etc. This data is open by definition, and there is a significant opportunity to ensure it is accessible and re-used to drive information-based decision-making and deliver analytics insights.

In the context of what some call the "data revolution", geospatial data and advanced analytics are being increasingly embraced by both public and private sector stakeholders globally to inform strategic and policy decisions together with supporting project design, implementation, and monitoring. While their use can have been considered as "nice to have, technically and visually appealing but expensive", the landscape is rapidly changing due primarily to increased availability of the data itself, reduction in data collection costs, and advancements in analytics. These developments are opening up opportunities for making better decisions and policies, realising efficiencies, and improving service delivery overall.

The Challenge

The Energy Practice and its dedicated Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme Group (ESMAP) are involved in 100’s projects in developing countries linked to establishing sustainable energy infrastructures and practices. These projects produce and re-use critical pieces of data (GIS data, structured tabular data, data models as well as reports, etc.) across a range of topics including Energy Access, Renewable Energy, Clean Cooking, and Accelerating Decarbonisation. This data should be accessible in a platform that enables users to explore, preview, and ultimately re-use this information as raw data or via dedicated web applications. This was the vision for EnergyData.Info as the dedicated World Bank Energy Data and Analytics Platform.


The Vision for EnergyData.Info included some key requirements:

  • The World Bank is committed to Open Source as a way of delivering software solutions to its stakeholders;
  • The Data Hub was linked to a federated view of how data would be organised either directly hosted on the platform or accessible via other data portals. The cataloguing component of the Data Hub was key;
  • Easy, natural search capability was essential when enabling users to get access to the information they required quickly;
  • Preview and exploration of data were key as well so that the Data Hub user can preview data on a map or table or graph;
  • The hub should also be extendable by either selecting existing features and/or creating new extensions to address World Bank-specific requirements.

The view of the above requirements, CKAN was the strongest solution available. It did not disappoint!

The Results

EnergyData.Info is the most popular and reliable Open Data Portal for Energy. It has been developed as a public good available to governments, development organisations, private sector, non-governmental organisations, academia, civil society and individuals to share data and analytics that can help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

  • It figures among the Top 5 most visited websites globally in the Energy sector;
  • It provides a range of data pertaining to the energy sector, including electricity transmission and distribution networks, energy access, power system and utilities, renewable energy sources, etc;
  • It also hosts a number of apps that make use of the data.

EnergyData.Info has maintained strong user growth and interaction, with a 350% increase in page views during Derilinx’s custodianship, reflecting its status globally in the energy data space.


Through continuous iteration and improvement, the platform has become the one-stop-shop of the original vision, serving as the gateway to dozens of applications and visualisations. Data impact is critical, and it is important to enable decision-making for the non-data-savvy public as well. It highlights the need for users to access data visualisation, data exploration, and data analytics solutions addressing specific decision-making needs.

As a result, the World Bank enriched the Data Hub offering with a suite of applications that are powered by Open Data. These applications aim to help users understand data and fast-track practical field decisions (based on complex data models) that otherwise would require significant input from data analysts, energy/water consultants etc.

Examples of such solutions include:

  • The Renewable Energy Zoning (REZoning) tool
    An interactive, web-based platform designed to identify, visualise, and rank zones that are most suitable for the development of solar, wind, or offshore wind projects -
  • Solar PV + Storage Tool
    A tool that provides a preliminary assessment of the energy storage sizing requirements (both in terms of energy and power), and the project cost of hybrid solar PV and energy storage systems, using energy storage for smoothing and shifting applications.
  • Utility Performance & Behavior in Africa Today (UPEAT)
    A framework for sharing and comparing experiences between electric utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa. It facilitates an understanding of how utilities perform today and tracks the changes in their performance over time.
  • Clean Cooking Planning Tool (CCPT)
    A tool designed to help energy planners, decision-makers, program developers, and researchers visualise potential transition pathways to universal access to clean cooking solutions by 2030.
  • Global Electrification Platform (GEP)
    A platform that allows users to explore least-cost electrification strategies around the world, interacting with country contextual data and different investment scenarios.
"The World Bank Open Data platform provides access to rich energy sector-related data and advanced analytics, covering more than 160 countries. Over the years, Derilinx has become an important partner in ensuring the sustainable operation of the Platform, access to datasets, and effectively building impactful web applications and GIS visualisation tools for informing strategic and project-level decisions and improving economic development. They deeply care about their customers, always striving to over-deliver against objectives."Tigran Parvanyan, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program