The Carbon Data Specification (CDS) is a data dictionary for raw data and a standard for data requirements that enable energy data access for measuring, quantifying, and tracking carbon emissions from energy production and consumption. These standards and requirements should boost confidence in data sources, increase data utilization, promote scalability, and enable data aggregation for centralized platforms, which shall support and inform grid decarbonization pathways and decision-making.

In early 2022, the Carbon Data Specification Consortium (CDSC) was born out of an awareness that the data used to calculate carbon emissions must be aligned with the functioning of power networks and the standard data models used to operate power networks. Modern power systems are optimized, studied, and planned using a mixture of economic and reliability frameworks. As the planet begins to drawdown carbon we will need to include carbon as an additional axis upon which decisions are made with regards to siting, investment, and scaling of assets.

The Consortium includes stakeholders from utilities, power systems engineers, power system software Maintainers, corporates with net-zero mandates, and new and emerging carbon tracking companies. This unique consortium of stakeholders positions the CDS to be a harmonized data framework, aligned with the physics of the grid. The usage guidance will enable utilities and corporations to build confidence around emissions reporting for greenhouse gas accounting.

CDS Scope

  • The Carbon Data Specifications Consortium (“CDSC”) establishes specifications for the underlying measured/raw data used to calculate energy – and carbon-related metrics.
  • It specifies procedures and technical standards for accessing and enabling aggregation of the raw/measured energy and emissions source data, including recommendations for temporal scale, locational scale, timely acquisition, and quality assurance.
  • The power network-related metrics and raw data standards will be specified within the following categories:
    • Customer data. This may include, but is not limited to:
      • Metering consumption and production data
      • Account and bill data needed for project analysis
      • Authorization and consent processes
    • Power systems data. This may include, but is not limited to:
      • Power generation emissions
      • Delivery capacities and/or constraints
      • Generation mix
      • Power imports and exports
      • Power market data
      • Contractual data

The CDSC is applicable to historical source data and metrics that support emissions-based decision-making and the measuring and tracking of carbon emissions.