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Commissioner McAllister Talks About Importance of Energy Data Use and Accessibility

By Media Office Staff

A more strategic use of data on energy consumption and usage patterns is key to helping California make a sharp shift to meet the state’s clean energy goals of doubling energy efficiency savings in buildings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

But access to data remains a challenge, including for those who are crafting policy or involved in energy planning.

To discuss California’s efforts to expand access to energy data and the repositories that house and protect information about energy use, California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister participated in a recent webinar organized by Mission Data, a national coalition of 35 companies.

“California’s energy data vision begins with taking our agency into the digital age,” Commissioner McAllister said. “We want to make sure that we ourselves are using the best information for our planning and analyses, and also that the marketplace has as much data as possible without compromising privacy.”

Data about the needs and constraints of the electricity grid can help inform policy. Such information can also help energy producers and utilities serve the needs of the grid and help consumers make informed decisions about their energy management.

Access to updated energy data allows the Energy Commission to generate more knowledge about usage patterns at a higher resolution than ever before. McAllister said adopting privacy protocols and providing open platforms for energy use baselines and trends would empower citizens to improve their lives, as well as hold government accountable.

Energy data repositories can be helpful for research, policy and planning. The marketplace can also use energy data through a permission-based access system that results in customer savings, for example by enabling energy service providers to quantify opportunities for savings and to understand which customers can benefit the most.

The Energy Commission encourages the use of data through its investments in research.

“We have a strong research component at the Energy Commission where we invest about $160 million a year in different projects, and we’re committed to enabling the marketplace to use the outputs of that work,” McAllister said.

Decarbonizing California’s buildings must be a core strategy if the state is to achieve the goal of a carbon-free economy by 2045, McAllister believes. Collecting accurate data and making it available while guarding privacy is vital to modernizing the development of energy policy and helping the state map a route to a clean-energy future, he said.

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