I want to get a visual feeling for the distribution of electricity and heating load over the year. There are national load curves, then there are reference load curves for individual (mainly residential) buildings. But I would like to get something in between. Proxies like output of district heating or cogeneration plants are fine, too.

I'm not picky: The preferred time resolution is 1 hour, covering a full year, in moderate (i.e. summer-winter-cycle) climate. But I take daily, even weekly resolution anywhere on the globe.

The only hard requirement: open data with clear license, not a pixelated graph in a report that may not be reused.

electricity load curve in New England in 1919 Motivational picture: Wikimedia commons: Lcurve.jpg [PD]

  • Great question and beautiful data visualization
    – philshem
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 7:56

5 Answers 5


GreenButtonData.org (open source) is compiling this type of information from its users. They currently claim that upto 60 million households can access their monitoring/analysis system via partnerships with utility companies.

They have a REST API, but I do not know how much aggregated data is available yet. They have though given some datasets (or samples), including hourly loads, to openEI (crowd sourced project for energy usage/information - http://en.openei.org/wiki/Main_Page)

32 day hourly sample - http://en.openei.org/datasets/node/901

UPDATE: Below is the dataset for monthly energy usage and CO2 emissions for Boston's municipal buildings.


Below is the datast for annual energy and water usage and CO2 emissions for NYC's buildings > 50K square feet.


  • The GreenDataButton dataset (and their REST API) did not look very accessible without a developer ID. However, the OpenEI homepage has several GiB of individual reference elec/heat/cooling loads for hundreds of reference buildings (residential, commercial). I am downloading the data right now to see whether I can aggregate them myself in a meaningful way...
    – ojdo
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 16:54

While this won't be of help for a while, we at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) are beginning to develop a data set that may be helpful in the future. We received approval for a new data collection from Balancing Authorities in the lower 48 United States that will collect hourly generation, consumption, and transfer of electricity. The data will be hourly, and include actuals as well as prior day forecasts. We expect to start publishing data as we collect it in the first half of 2015 (we are currently implementing the hourly aggregation process with all the Balancing Authorities.) See the "EIA-930" on our website for more detailed information.

Current electric generation and consumption data at this level of granularity that might meet your needs is currently available for Independent System Operators covering California, New England, the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Maryland region, the Midwest, and Texas.

I'm not an expert in these areas, but we have several who might be of further help at EIA.


European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE) provides Consumption and Production data for individual countries (and Exchange data between countries). (Link to Data Portal.)

For your application, you would probably want one of these country hourly load data sets. They are at the country resolution (but good thing there are small countries in Europe).

  • Hourly load values of a specific country for a specific month (link)

  • Hourly load values of all countries for a specific month(link)

You would have to download multiple XLS files (one per month) and then stitch them together. There is also an HTML option but it doesn't look too scrapable (no URL with paramters).

enter image description here

  • As a hint, I'd say pick a small country with uniform temperatures, like Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, ... When you make a scatter plot with the day's temperature on the x axis and the power consumption on the y-axis, you see clustering of heating and non-heating days. Here's an ugly chart with those clusters. Interestingly, when you plot max temp, you see a third cluster that is probably from air conditioning.

enter image description here

  • Terms of Use for ENTSOE data (link)
  • Small countries... good idea! The lack of "direct" data for heating demand is a blocker for my application, but I might use this approach in the future.
    – ojdo
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 10:49
  • Here is the list of member countries: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Luxembourg would be my first choice, but also consider Iceland, Montenegro, etc.
    – philshem
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 11:34

The City of Gainesville has an open data portal that seems to be worth the title. They offer huge amounts of data. Among them are these two, both updated since January 2012:

So while the temporal resolution is not stellar, spatial resolution is better than anything I could have expected to find as open data.


Pecan Street Energy has "the world's largest collection" of sub-hourly energy data for residential buildings -- its data-port is open for University researchers (but paid use for non-University users)

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