It’s fair to say that when I started the Variable Pitch website I didn’t know a lot about the energy market or the data that would be useful and available. I had an idea and some data and I started trying to make it available. The site started with just scottish stations but soon I had people asking me about english, welsh and northern irish stations, so I expanded to also cover those countries.
It wasn’t just the coverage that expanded. While I started out focussing on Renewable Obligation certificates (ROC) and their value, I was soon being asked about other aspects of finance related to renewable energy. The Ofgem data provided a way of viewing the output for stations but my early focus on ROC was soon shown to be an error as other financial schemes such as the Feed In Tariff needed to be considered. Then there was the selling of electricity that I hadn’t thought about and the constraint payments made were another area that I had not originally anticipated tracking but something I added to the site.
As with all projects that grow in such an organic manner my initial design of data structures turned out to be totally inadequate. I added the pieces I needed but over time it grew arms and legs on it’s arms and legs. It worked, but adding things was getting harder and harder. Simple maintenance was proving a challenge. Developing the site was also getting harder.
As a result of everything above I finally decided that the time was right to bite the bullet and use the my additional knowledge to develop a better set of structures for the data. This finally allows me to add some of the extra things that I’ve been struggling with – hopefully in a manner that also allows for better maintenance and easier upgrades!
I’ve made a good start on getting things changed and have a lot of the new design work done, so it’s just a question of finding and correcting all the small (and some not so small) bugs before pushing it live. I’m hoping to get that done this week, but it may drift into next week.