Demo Day Insights | Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition | World Energy Council

Demo Day Insights | Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition | World Energy Council

By Rosana de Oliveira Gomes

Two Omdena teams with a total of 50 AI experts and data scientists from 25 countries collaborated with the World Energy Council and the Nigerian NGO RA365 in carrying out data-driven analyses and providing AI solutions to address the Global Transition to Clean Energy.

At a recent Omdena Demo Day, team members Amardeep Singh, Julia Wabant, and Simon Mackenzie shared the results and insights gained from these two projects.

 

The Topic: Energy Transition

One of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern clean energy for all by 2030.

Transitioning into a society with cleaner energy is crucial for fighting climate change. Different parts of the world are currently facing different stages of the energy transition. This can be noted both on the implementation of solutions in specific regions as well as in the cultural perception of such transition by societies. Both topics are addressed in the following two Omdena use cases.

 

1. Use Case: AI for Renewable Energy in Nigeria

 

Clean Energy 

 

Nigeria is one of the countries in the world facing the most severe energy challenges. Over half of the country’s population — 100 million people — lack access to electricity. Some of the problems faced by Nigerians include precarious electricity systems, unstable electricity supply, and electricity available only in certain locations.

An alternative to these problems is investing in local and renewable power solutions. Renewable Africa RA365 is an NGO with the mission to end energy poverty in Nigeria by leveraging innovative clean energy solutions and focusing on providing solar energy to vulnerable populations. In this project, the Omdena team partnered up with RA365 with the goal of identifying communities where solar panels would add the most value.

The first task in this challenge was to define what these areas should be: groups of about 4000 people living within a radius of about 500 m, and that are located more than 15 km away from a power grid. Regions close to schools, healthcare centers, and water locations were considered to have a higher ranking of priority, as they can benefit even more from renewable energy implementation.

One of the biggest challenges in the project was the lack of data for population density, making it hard to identify where people need assistance. In order to find out how the population is distributed in Nigeria and determine who is without access to electricity, the team compared nighttime satellite imagery from NASA Black Marble VIIRS against the geographic location of the population using the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program, ground surveys from WorldPop, and the GRID3 dataset. Also, for identifying the national grid location and, therefore, find regions where people live in relation to existing power lines, the team applied Machine Learning techniques on satellite images from the HV grid from Development Seed/World Bank.

 

Clean Energy

Combined two satellite data information on average over a large number of nights and seasons.

 

Clean Energy

 

Finally, the team finally worked on finding, among all these towns without electricity supply, which ones would be suitable for the criteria established for the implementation of a local solar energy system. This was done by clustering 4000 people in a 500 m radius using the DbScan clustering technique, leading to the identification of over a thousand high-potential regions.

 

Clean Energy

 

Clusters of towns with populations between 4–15 thousand people which are suitable for potential off-grid solar navigation in the North of Nigeria.

The Omdena’s team deliverable for this project: A prototype interactive map of the whole of Nigeria identifying the regions with a high demand for electricity and a high potential for solar.

The next steps for this project include a detailed survey for the top target areas in order to identify which locations are most suitable both in terms of infrastructure and cost for implementation of solar systems.

A detailed description of this project and its documentation are available in other Omdena publications. See more about the background of this project in this Omdena article.

 

The Impact

The initiative taken by Omdena and Renewable Africa RA365 has the potential of enabling data-driven investments and policy-making that can change the lives of many people in Nigeria and other African countries.

The data and prototype of this project have been shared with the Lagos State Government agency for solar systems, which is now willing to start the process of mass production already in 2020.

“In order to get this job done, it is not all about providing solutions to these people. We want to make sure that the solutions get to the right people at the right places, and Omdena has really helped us to achieve that.”

Joseph Itopa, Machine Learning Engineer at Renewable Africa RA365

 

2. Use Case: Sentiment Analysis on Energy Transition

The transition away from dependency on CO2 to a more sustainable society dominates the news headlines worldwide, exposing conflicting opinions and political measures driving towards a future with cleaner energy sources. Understanding the clean energy transition at a human-level is crucial to the effectiveness of whatever steps are taken in the direction of a carbon-free society.

Commissioned by the World Energy Council, the world’s leading member-based global energy network, Omdena explored applications of AI in understanding how people in different regions of the world perceive the energy transition and their role in it.

Using natural language processing (NLP) techniques, the team created tools to collect, scrape, and analyze text about the clean energy transition found on different social media sources (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and famous newspapers). This text data was analyzed using varying methods, such as sentiment analysis, topic modeling, and clustering to reveal the challenges, reactions, and attitudes of citizens around the world.

 

Sentiment Analysis Reddit

Topic “Energy transition” for the USA on Reddit.

 

Visualizations of the results allow for comparisons of sentiments across nations and societies. The analysis was first focused on English speaking countries, as this provides a common basis for comparing text. For this, the countries representative of different continents and development backgrounds were: USA (America), UK (Europe), Nigeria (Africa), and India (Asia).

 

Renewable Energy

Data Analysis of Twitter data.

 

The word cloud representation of the results shows that among the 4 countries investigated, only Nigeria has prominent tweets about “electricity supply”. Similarly, “gas prices” are specific to the USA. However, “renewable energy” is present in all 4 countries.

A part of the analysis was also expanded to other countries and languages, gathering and analyzing tweets related to complaints about “renewable energy cost” in more than 20 countries. The results revealed how local conditions and culture can differ significantly from different places. For example, “technology” was the most relevant concern in the complaint tweets in Brazil and France, whereas in Nigeria these tweets were focused solely on “policy”.

 

Energy Transition

Complaints about Energy Transition

 

Other short and detailed discussions about this project can be found in Omdena publications.

 

The Impact

Though broad conclusions cannot be drawn from these isolated collections of data, the results point to models and data sets that are promising for further development. The analysis carried out by the Omdena team allowed for a better understanding of how natural language processing techniques can be used to capture the opinions and concerns of people worldwide about the clean energy transition.

“The Council has been interested in how public sentiment on energy issues might be tracked, or if this were even possible. That is where this project came in — the team at Omdena explored the broad brief and have proven that the conceptual idea is possible.”

Martin Young, Senior Director at the World Energy Council

 

The demo day recording

 

 

Collaborators from this project

We thank our partner organizations, Renewable Africa 365 and the World Energy Council. as well as all Omdena collaborators (listed below) who made the project a success.

 

Omdenda team members, on the Renewable Energy Nigeria project:

  • Anastasis Stamatis, Greece
  • Daniil Khodosko, Canada
  • Peace Bakare, Nigeria
  • John Wu, Australia
  • Siddharth Srivastava, India
  • Simon Mackenzie, UK
  • Hoa Nguyen, Vietnam
  • Takashi Daido, Japan
  • Jessica Alecci, Netherlands/Italy
  • Jack David, UK
  • Shubham Bindal, India
  • Deborah David, France
  • Qi Han, Singapore
  • Stefan Hrouda-Rasmussen, Denmark
  • Varun G P, India
  • Ifeoma Okoh (Ify), Nigeria
  • Suraiya Khan, Canada
  • Ivan Tzompov, Bulgaria
  • Henrique Mendonca, Switzerland
  • Himadri Mishra, India
  • Sai Praveen, India
  • Jaikanth J, India
  • Krithiga Ramadass, India

 

Omdena team members, on the Energy Transition Social Sentiment project:

  • Syed Hassan, UAE
  • Julia Jakubczak, Poland
  • Marek Cichy, Poland
  • Krithiga Ramadass, India
  • Abhishek Deshpande, India
  • Julia Wabant, France
  • Simon Mackenzie, UK
  • Alejandro Bautista Ramos, Mexico
  • Irune Lansorena Sanchez, Spain
  • Vishal Ramesh, India
  • Elizabeth Tishenko, Poland
  • Shashank Agrawal, India
  • Ilias Papadopoulos, Greece
  • Aqueel Jivan, USA
  • Nicholas Musau, Kenya
  • Matteo Bustreo, Italy
  • Mahzad Khoshlessan, USA
  • Yamuna Dulanjani, Sri Lanka
  • Fiona, USA
  • Murindanyi Sudi, Rwanda
  • Raghhuveer Jaikanth, India
  • Abhishek Gupta, USA
  • Aboli Marathe, India
  • Momodou B Jallow, China
  • Jordi Frank, USA
  • Amardeep Singh, Canada
  • Julie Maina, Kenya
 
 
 
 
 

More About Omdena

Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through the power of bottom-up collaboration.

NLP Clustering to Understand Social Barriers Towards Energy Transition | World Energy Council

NLP Clustering to Understand Social Barriers Towards Energy Transition | World Energy Council

Using NLP clustering to better understand the thoughts, concerns, and sentiments of citizens in the USA, UK, Nigeria, and India about energy transition and decarbonization of their economies. The following article shares observatory results on how citizens of the world perceive their role within the energy transition. This includes associated social risks, opportunities, and costs.

The findings are part of a two-month Omdena AI project with the World Energy Council (WEC). None of the findings are conclusive but observative taking into account the complexity of the analysis scope.

 

The Project Goal

The aim was to find information that can help governments to effectively involve people in the accelerating energy transition. The problem was quite complicated and there was no data provided to us. Therefore, we were supposed to create our own data-set, analyze it, and provide WEC with insights. We started with a long list of open questions such as:

  • What should our output look like?
  • What search terms would be useful to scrape data for?
  • What countries should be considered as our main focus?
  • Should we consider non-English languages as well and analyze them?
  • How much data per country will be enough?
  • Etc.

In order to meet the deadline for the project, we decided to go with the English language only and come up with good working models.

 

The Solution

 

Getting data from Social Media

We scraped the following resources: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and famous newspapers specific to each country. Desired insights should cover developed, developing, and under-developed countries and the emphasis was specifically on developing, and under-developed countries.

The results discussed in this article obtained from scraped tweet data and for USA, UK, India, and Nigeria which cover the three categories of developed, developing, and under-developed countries.

 

Our Approach: Trying different NLP techniques

We first gathered data by scraping tweets using several specific keywords we found to be important for specific countries using google trends. I added stop-words, stemming, removed hashtags, punctuation, numbers, mentions, and replaced URLs with _URL. I used TF-IDF vectorization for feature extraction of the articles. I am going to walk you through various steps taken to tackle the problem.

 

Approach 1: Sentiment Analysis (Non-satisfactory)

Sentiment analysis of short tweets data comes with its own challenges and some of the important challenges we were facing for this project were:

  • Tags mean different things in different countries. #nolight can be Canadians complaining about the winter sunset, or Nigerians having a power cut.
  • Tags take a side. For example, #renewables is pro-green and #climatehoax is not. So positive sentiment on #renewables might not really tell us much.
  •  The classifier model built on #climatechange and related tags do not work at all on the anti-green tags such as #climatemyth.
  • Some anti-green tweets are full of happy emojis which makes the sentiments unreliable.
  • The major tweeting countries are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the distribution of climate change-related tweets across the world is not uniform and the number of tweets across some countries is much more prevalent in the data-set as compared to others (Figure1) [1].
  • The interpretation of outputs. In fact, by just assigning labels to each tweet we will not be able to derive insights on the barriers to the energy transition. Therefore, the interpretability of the model is very important.

Considering all the challenges discussed, the sentiment analysis of the tweets did not produce satisfactory results (Table1) and we decided to test other models.

 

 

Number of climate change related tweets per country [1]

Figure1: Number of climate change related tweets per country [1]

 

 

Classifier accuracy for sentiment analysis of tweets data (USA)

Table1: Classifier accuracy for sentiment analysis of tweets data (USA)

 

 

Approach 2: Topic Modeling (Unsatisfactory) 

Topic modeling is an NLP technique that provides a way to compare the strength of different topics and tells us which topic is much more informative as compared to others. Topic models are unsupervised models with no need for data labeling. Because tweets are short it was really hard to differentiate between different topics and also correspond them to a specific topic using models such as LDA. Topic models tend to produce the best results when applied to texts that are not too short and those that have a consistent structure.

 

1. Using a semi-supervised approach

We chose a semi-supervised topic modeling approach (CorEX) [2]. Since the data was very high dimensional, we applied dimensionality reduction in order to remove noise and interpret the data. Permutation Test is used to determine the optimum number of principal components required for PCA [3,4]. From the explained variance ratio plot, it appeared that the cumulative explained variance line is not perfectly linear, but it is very close to a straight line.

Through permutation tests, I noticed that the mean of the explained variance ratio of permuted matrices did not really differ from the explained variance ratio of the non-permuted matrix which suggested that applying PCA on correlated topic model’s results were not helpful at all.

 

 

 

 

This means each of the principal components contributes to the variance explanation almost equally, and there’s not much point in reducing the dimensions based on PCA.

 

2. Identifying 20 important topics

The CorEx results showed that there are about 20 important topics and it was also showing the important words per topic. But how to interpret the results?

Data was very high dimensional and dimensionality reduction was not helpful at all. For example, if price, electricity, ticket, fuel, gas, and skepticism are the most important words for one topic how to understand the concerns of the people of that country? Is it fuel price that is of concern to them? Or electricity prices, or ticket prices? There could be a combination of many different possibly related words in each topic and by just looking at the important words in each topic, it would not be possible to find out what is the story behind data to harness clean energy for a better future.

Besides, bigrams or trigrams with topic models did not help much either because not the main keywords conveying the main focus of the tweet might always appear together.

 

 

 

 

Approach 3: Clustering (Kmeans & Hierarchical)

Both Kmeans and Hierarchical clustering models lead to comparable results illustrating separate clear clusters. Because both models have comparable performance, we derived all results using Hierarchical clustering which better shows the hierarchy of the clusters. Tweet data were collected for four different countries as discussed before and the model was applied to the data of each country separately to analyze the results. To summarize we only show the clustering results for India. But all the insights across countries are shown at the end of the article.

 

 

 

 

Hierarchical Clustering Results

After finding clear clusters from the data, the next step was interpreting the data by creating meaningful visualizations and insights. A combination of Scattertext, co-occurrence graph, dispersion plot, colocated word clouds, and top trigrams resulted in very useful insights from data to harness clean energy for a better future.

An important lesson to point out here is to always rely on a combination of various plots for your interpretations instead of only one. Each type of plot helps us visualize one aspect of data and combining various plots together helps to create a comprehensive clear picture from data.

 

 

1. Using Scattertext

Scattertext is an excellent exploratory text analysis tool that allows cool visualizations differentiating between the terms used by different documents using an interactive scatter plot.

Two types of plots were created which was very helpful in interpreting the results.

1) Visualizing word embedding projections. This has been explored using word association with a specific keyword. The keywords include the following: [Access, Availability, Affordability, Bills, Prices]. If the reader is interested, they can try more keywords using the provided code in this study.

2) In another plot, the uni-grams from the clustered tweets are selected and plotted using their dense-ranked category-specific frequencies. We used this difference in dense ranks as the scoring function.

All the interactive plots are stored in an HTML file and are available in the GitHub repository. If you click on the interactive version, the list of tweets with each specific term can be explored. Please note that first hierarchical clustering is applied to the data and then the clustered tweets are given to Scattertext as input. You can gain further information by diving deep into these plots. The data used for creating these results can be found here and the notebook to apply to cluster and create these scatter plots can be found here.

The following shows the interactive versions of all plots for various countries:

 

1.1. Rank and frequencies across different categories (India)

 

 

 An example Scattertext plot showing positions of terms based on the dense ranks of their frequencies, for cluster 1 & 2. The scores are the difference between the terms’ dense ranks. The bluer terms are, the higher their association scores are for cluster 1. The redder the terms, the higher their association score is for cluster 2. See Cluster 1 vs 2 for an interactive version of this plot.

Figure 8. An example Scattertext plot showing positions of terms based on the dense ranks of their frequencies, for cluster 1 & 2. The scores are the difference between the terms’ dense ranks. The bluer terms are, the higher their association scores are for cluster 1. The redder the terms, the higher their association score is for cluster 2. See Cluster 1 vs 2 for an interactive version of this plot.

 

 

An example Scattertext plot showing positions of terms based on the dense ranks of their frequencies, for cluster 1 & 3. The scores are the difference between the terms’ dense ranks. The bluer terms are, the higher their association scores are for cluster 1. The redder the terms, the higher their association score is for cluster 3. See Cluster 1 vs 3 for an interactive version of this plot.

Figure 9. An example Scattertext plot showing positions of terms based on the dense ranks of their frequencies, for cluster 1 & 3. The scores are the difference between the terms’ dense ranks. The bluer terms are, the higher their association scores are for cluster 1. The redder the terms, the higher their association score is for cluster 3. See Cluster 1 vs 3 for an interactive version of this plot.

 

 

1.2. Word embedding projection plots using Scattertext (India)

 

 

An example Scattertext plot showing word associations to term prices using Spacy’s pretrained embedding vectors. This is used to see the terms most associated with the term prices. At the top right corner, we see the most commonly associated words with the term prices such as electricity. If you click on the interactive version, the list of tweets with the terms can be explored. See Word Embedding: Bills for an interactive version of this plot.

Figure 10. An example Scattertext plot showing word associations to term prices using Spacy’s pre-trained embedding vectors. This is used to see the terms most associated with the term prices. At the top right corner, we see the most commonly associated words with the term prices such as electricity. If you click on the interactive version, the list of tweets with the terms can be explored. See Word Embedding: Bills for an interactive version of this plot.

 

 

 An example Scattertext plot showing word associations to term bills using Spacy’s pretrained embedding vectors. This is used to see the terms most associated with the term bills. At the top right corner, we see the most commonly associated words with the term bills such as electricity, prices, energy, power. If you click on the interactive version, the list of tweets with the terms can be explored. See Word Embedding: Prices for an interactive version of this plot.

Figure 11. An example Scattertext plot showing word associations to term bills using Spacy’s pretrained embedding vectors. This is used to see the terms most associated with the term bills. At the top right corner, we see the most commonly associated words with the term bills such as electricity, prices, energy, power. If you click on the interactive version, the list of tweets with the terms can be explored. See Word Embedding: Prices for an interactive version of this plot.

 

 

2. Twitter Insights (Price & Energy Transition Concerns)

 

2.1. India
  • Solar and wind don’t necessarily mean cheaper prices as it did not cause so in Germany. When Germany went all on renewables, energy prices and carbon emissions went up.
  • The electrical prices can drop for people who are sourcing power from the government-owned renewable sources because the prices are not going to vary with oil and natural gas.
  • Renewable energy policy can lead to much lower electricity prices, a stronger globally competitive economy, less import of fossil fuels, and as a result less pollution.
  • Putting a tax on coal and making open access a reality are two potential action areas to make renewable energy affordable.
  • Let oil prices increase and subsidies stop.
  • Many requests to replace fossil fuels with cleaner fossil fuels such as stubbles from farmers.
  • Cut oil imports and encourage renewable energies.
  • A lot of complaints regarding electricity shortage, lack of electricity for hours or days, electricity cut, electricity, and water supply.
  • Fossil fuels are dirty, and Nuclear power is dangerous. Therefore, we need to make renewable energy work or harness clean energy for a better future.

 

2.2. Nigeria
  • People complaining about no constant electricity, and zero business-friendly policy.
  • Enhancing the delivery of electricity in the country.
  • Whenever it rained electricity supply was cut off for days, lack of electricity every weekend daily and overnight, and unstable electricity.
  • No water and no electricity.
  • The electricity sector is the third main consuming sector of oil.
  • Lots of worries and trouble regarding paying electricity bills.
  • Access to electricity is not for everyone.
  • Access to affordable sustainable renewable energy.
  • Renewable energy water and waste management are some of Nigeria’s major partnership areas with Ghana.
  • Harnessing tidal or offshore wind energy which is a clean and renewable source.
  • Lots of positive experiences and low prices with the usage of Solar power systems.

 

2.3. UK

  • Bringing down the prices of electricity and gas.
  • Having stable prices for electricity.
  • People prefer higher prices for gas than electricity.
  • Need to think beyond electricity to affect the energy transition.
  • Renewables disrupt the electricity market and politicians raising electricity prices to tackle climate emergency problems is an awful policy.
  • A lot of requests on investment in Renewable Energies.
  • The transition to renewable is being too slow.
  • Lots of discussions on whether it is good to replace the nuclear stations with renewables.
  • Whether the zero-carbon economy has any economic benefit for the UK.

 

2.4. USA

  • Slowing down climate change.
  • Market-based solutions for climate change.
  • Renewable energy infrastructure is lame and unreliable.
  • Renewables increase electricity prices and distort energy markets with favorable purchase agreements.
  • Many complaints regarding gas prices.
  • National security’s priority should be on renewable energy Investing in its infrastructure and jobs progs.
  • Figure out how to store renewable energy and get rid of excess CO in the atmosphere.
  • Renewable energy represents a significant economic opportunity.

 

 

3. Weighing a word´s importance via Dispersion Plot

A word’s importance can be weighed by its dispersion in a corpus. Lexical dispersion is a measure of a word’s homogeneity across the parts of a corpus. The following plot notes how many times a word occurs throughout the entire corpus for different countries including India, Nigeria, UK, and the USA.

According to the following dispersion plot, access to electricity is an important concern for Nigeria while this is not the case for the other three countries. How do we know that this access is related to electricity? Well, the answer is Scattertext plots shown in the previous section. Analyzing those plots together with the dispersion plot shows that the concern is electricity access.

Access to affordable renewable energy is a big concern in Nigeria and then India, while the affordability of renewable energy is not a problem for people in the UK and the USA. Affordability is a big concern for the people in Nigeria and people have difficulty paying their electricity bills.

Energy, electricity, power, and renewables are also the topic of most of the discussions in all of these countries. But what aspects of each topic are of concern to each country? The answer is given in the previous section where we interpret the results of Scattertext plots.

 

 

Lexical dispersion for various keywords across different countries

Figure 12. Lexical dispersion for various keywords across different countries

 

 

4. Top Trigrams for Different Countries

 

 

Top twenty trigrams for India

Figure 13. Top twenty trigrams for India

 

 

As can be seen from the top 20 trigrams for India the top concerns are Renewable energy, Renewable energy sector, Renewable energy capacity, Renewable energy sources, New renewable energy, and clean renewable energy. These top concerns specifically match the insights drawn from clustering in the previous section.

 

 

Top twenty trigrams for Nigeria

Figure 14. Top twenty trigrams for Nigeria

 

 

As can be seen from the top 20 trigrams for Nigeria the top concerns are Renewable energy, Renewable energy training, Electricity distribution companies, Renewable energy sources, Renewable energy solutions, Solar renewable energy, Renewable energy sector, Affordable prices, Power Supply, Climate change renewables, Public-private sectors, Renewable energy industry, Renewable energy policies, and Access to renewable energy. These top concerns specifically match the insights drawn from clustering in the previous section.

 

 

Top twenty trigrams for UK

Figure 15. Top twenty trigrams for UK

 

 

As can be seen from the top 20 trigrams for the United-Kingdom the top concerns are Free renewable energy, Renewable energy sources, Using renewable energy, New renewable energy. These top concerns specifically match the insights drawn from clustering in the previous section.

 

 

 Top twenty trigrams for USA

Figure 16. Top twenty trigrams for USA

 

 

As can be seen from the top 20 trigrams for the USA the top concerns are Clean renewable energy, Renewable energy sources, Supporting renewable energy, Renewable fuel standard, Transition into renewable energy, Solar renewable energy, New renewable energy, Using renewable energy, Need for quality products, and renewable energy jobs. These top concerns specifically match the insights drawn from clustering in the previous section.

 

 

5. Collocated word clouds & Co-occurrence Network

The following plots display the networks of co-occurring words in tweets in different countries. Here, we visualize the network of top 25 occurring bigrams. The connection between the words confirms the insight derived in the previous section for all cases.

 

 

 Collocate Clouds-India

Figure 17. Collocate Clouds-India

 

 

Co-occurrence Network-India (First 25 Bigrams)

Figure 18. Co-occurrence Network-India (First 25 Bigrams)

 

 

Collocate Clouds-Nigeria

Figure 19. Collocate Clouds-Nigeria

 

 

Co-occurrence Network-Nigeria (First 25 Bigrams)

Figure 20. Co-occurrence Network-Nigeria (First 25 Bigrams)

 

 

Collocate Clouds-UK

Figure 21. Collocate Clouds-UK

 

 

Co-occurrence Network-UK (First 25 Bigrams)

Figure 22. Co-occurrence Network-UK (First 25 Bigrams)

 

 

Collocate Clouds-USA

Figure 23. Collocate Clouds-USA

 

 

Co-occurrence Network-USA (First 25 Bigrams)

Figure 24. Co-occurrence Network-USA (First 25 Bigrams)

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Omdena

Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through the power of bottom-up collaboration.

Using AI to Understand Social Sentiments Toward the Clean Energy Transition

Using AI to Understand Social Sentiments Toward the Clean Energy Transition

By Laura Clark Murray

Sentiment Analysis on Energy Transition commissioned by the World Energy Council and carried out by Omdena

The world is in the midst of an energy transition. This massive shift aims to move away from reliance on fuels that are destructive to the climate, the environment, and people’s well-being. The goal established by the UN is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. While governments, energy companies, and activists dominate the headlines, the progress with infrastructure and technology won’t be sufficient. A successful energy transition for the good of all humanity depends on the action of individuals. Together with the World Energy Council, the world’s leading member-based global energy network, Omdena explored the use of AI in understanding how people around the world perceive this energy transition and their role in it.

“If the world is truly to achieve a state of zero-carbon energy within the next three decades, then it is realistic to say that the role of each individual person and citizen in each community on the surface of the planet forms an integral part of this journey.“ — Sue Stevenson, Director of Strategic Partnership and International Development, Barefoot College

How each one of us views the steps in this energy transition likely depends on our personal perspective. For instance, while an increase in home fuel bills might be a mere inconvenience for an affluent family, it might push someone in a marginalized community into poverty. A gasoline tax to subsidize renewable energy efforts will be applauded by some and protested by others, as was the case with the “yellow vest movement” that ignited in France in 2018. Though outlawing the use of fossil-fuel-based generators will be irrelevant for someone with reliable access to electricity, it may cast those living in energy poverty into darkness.

Knowledge of these diverging views is critical to guiding the global shift to clean, affordable, and socially-just energy. Are individuals aware of the risks and benefits of the move to clean power? Do they believe their personal choices and behaviors will have an impact? Who do they feel should pay the costs of the transition? The World Energy Council commissioned Omdena to explore the effectiveness of artificial intelligence to grasp the attitudes of the world’s populace on these topics.

Omdena is a global platform where AI experts and data scientists from diverse backgrounds collaborate to build AI-based solutions to real-world problems. You can learn more here about Omdena’s innovative approach to building AI solutions through global collaboration.

For this eight-week machine learning project, the team built numerous AI models to perform natural language processing. Known as NLP, this approach to AI is concerned with understanding human language. Social media conversations and news articles addressing energy-related topics served as the data for the project. The NLP models were trained to gather and categorize public conversations about energy transition topics. In the words of Amardeep Singh:

What sets this challenge apart from the rest was the sheer scale of data collected, social channels scraped and data analyzed.

For example, one set of models gathered and analyzed tweets in more than 20 countries that were related to complaints about “renewable energy cost”.

 

Energy Transition

 

As seen in the chart, the modeling revealed that technology is the biggest concern in the complaint tweets in Brazil and France. In contrast, relevant tweets in Nigeria were focused solely on policy. Though conclusions cannot be drawn from these isolated collections of data, this exploratory work has led to an understanding of the boundaries of what can be extracted from public online sources. Omdena Collaborator Mahzad Khoshlessan applied various models to filter for relevant tweets to visualize thoughts, concerns, and sentiments of citizens in the USA, UK, Nigeria, and India. Below is an example visualization displaying the most discussed topics in India.

 

Energy Transition

Word Clouds: India

 

“Here at the World Energy Council, we recognize the opportunity and urgent need to humanize energy transition. Only by working at the human-level, embracing a broader community and addressing the social impacts agenda, will it be possible to achieve and sustain the breakthrough performance required for fast, clean, just, and socially inclusive global energy transition.” — The World Energy Council

 

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