Good data about energy efficiency in all sectors is vital to maximizing savings from the energy efficiency resource. All levels of government and a wide range of businesses rely upon accurate energy efficiency analyses in order to shape policy and outline business investment plans. Dependable analyses are grounded in good energy and market data, much of which has historically been collected by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and other governmental data agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Federal Highway Administration.
In the past twenty years, Congress has consistently under-funded these data collection agencies, leading to spotty and uneven data quality, which results in information gaps that impede good analysis. Some critical data collection efforts, like the Census Bureau’s surveys of freight vehicles (Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey) and some manufactured products such as electric motors, have been scrapped entirely, while others have shrunk as a result of profound budgetary stagnation or decline.
ACEEE has supported improved funding of energy efficiency data collection by the federal government. ACEEE recommends that Congress increase funding to the appropriate data gathering agencies responsible for data collection to insure that reliable data is publicly available; and ensure that agencies responsible for data collection are directed to improve the quality and appropriateness of data collection process. These improvement would include maintaining the continuity of existing data series; expanding samples sizes of consumption surveys; considering the reallocation of samples to provide better state-level resolution; considering the reinstitution of some discontinued data series; and reexamining existing data series to insure they are still collecting meaningful data.
Good energy policy is built on good data, and a sustained commitment to collecting adequate data is critical to meeting the country’s future energy needs.