Learning to live with less is an increasingly common experience across the US federal government as budget cuts bite, but the hidden costs of those cuts are often poorly understood.
The energy business, like all industrial sectors, lives off of a continual flow of data. Much of that data originates with the federal government, and for energy much of it arises from the activities of the Energy Information Administration. The EIA’s mission, to provide independent and impartial energy information, has become so widely accepted as to be almost invisible to its users.
There are few ways to replace the work that EIA does, which makes the suspension and in some cases complete discontinuation of energy data series from the body following a 15% budget cut this year all the more stinging for energy consumers in constant search of greater transparency around pricing, inventories and market developments.
Gruenspecht told Breaking Energy elsewhere at the conference that oil imports will remain essential for the US despite significant development of onshore reserves. Read more here.
In this Breaking Energy video interview shot at the 2011 US Association for Energy Economics conference in Washington DC, EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht describes the “mad scramble” to adapt to its budget cuts, while diplomatically pointing out that all government agencies are learning to live within their means.
At the same time, the EIA is taking part in a broader Department of Energy effort to innovate the mechanisms by which it delivers data to the public and markets, which Gruenspecht points out “pay a lot of attention” to some of the more high-profile information. The agency has recently revamped its web presence, and Gruenspecht describes some of the more innovative approaches for delivering energy data and insights.