New Government Website for Energy Information

18 December of 2009 by

New DOE Seal Color New Government Website for Energy Information The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched Open Energy Information (www.openEI.org),which is a new public website that assembles DOE resources and energydata.

The data and tools listed on the free, editable, and evolvingwiki-platform will be utilized by government officials, the privatesector, and others to help deploy clean energy technologies across thecountry and globally. The website development was a joint effortprimarily between the DOE and the White House Office of Science andTechnology Policy to promote the education, transparency, andaccessibility of the federal government regarding energy policy.

The DOE worked closely with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory(NREL) and other National Laboratories to create one major portion ofthe site, which includes more than 60 clean energy resources and datasets such as maps of worldwide solarand wind prospects, information on climate zones, and best energypractices in each region. In general, the fundamental areas of emphasison the main site include: buildings, clean energy economics, incentive programs, smart grid and solar. The site is still in its infant phase and only lists 632 clean energy companiesacross the country, many of which are not the major players in theindustry but rather small start-up businesses. Moreover, the site lists56 networking organizations, 123 research and development institutions,121 investor and financial organizations, 42 policy organizations, anda compilation of numerous major renewable energy power generationfacilities nationally. OpenEI.org also links to the Virtual InformationBridge to Energy (VIBE),which is designed as a major data analysis library that will offer adynamic portal for enhanced understanding of energy data.

NREL, which is the leading U.S. research institution for renewableenergy, will continue to build and sustain both sites. It is expectedthat OpenEI.org will provide technical resources for U.S. companiesinvolved in clean energy deployment domestically or in conjunction withIndia and China,as part of the new collaborative clean energy partnerships. Over time,the plan is to expand one of the portals to include on-line trainingand technical expert networks for consulting services. Anotherexcellent related pre-existing energy data platform is available at theU.S. Energy Information Administration homepage,which offers information on all forms of energy, historical data, theenvironment, households and buildings, price trends, and geographicprofiles.

In addition, the DOE is contributing a wide array of tools and datasets for the National Assets program that is being carried out by agroup of six departments and agencies across the federal government, aspart of the Administration-wide Open Gov Initiative. The network ofagencies includes: the National Institutes of Health and Food and DrugAdministration in the Department of Health and Human Services; theAgricultural Research Service in the Department of Agriculture; theNational Institute of Standards and Technology in the Department ofCommerce; the DOE; and the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration, whom are all collaborating to spur innovationnationally by improving the connectivity between high-tech companies bythe creation of a national information network for relatedtechnologies. 

In this endeavor spearheaded through the National Assets program,information from multiple agencies will be available in RSS and XMLfeeds on Data.gov,which will increase access to information on various topics such as:publicly-funded technologies available for licensing, grantopportunities for federal funding and partnerships, policy initiativesand data-driven decisions for best practices. This transparency effortfollows the trend of making stimulus funded project information publicat Recovery.gov,where tax-payers can follow the trail of money from Washington, D.C. Itis anticipated that this new information initiative will also aidinnovators in locating vital resources, while also offering real-timeupdates that could ultimately generate synergistic developmentin industries, create new jobs, and increase economic growth. Theextension of broadband internet to less developed parts of the countrythrough Recovery Act funding will enable information gathering of thisnature to be even more accessible, especially to start-up companies andsmall businesses in small towns.

All of the aforementioned sites will be instrumental in policy-making at the federal, state and city level globally to meet greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy efficiencyand clean energy goals and standards. In the age of informationtechnology, central databases for energy information will be highlyuseful for timely collaborations and research and manufacturingpartnerships in the private sector. Currently, most clean energyinformation resources are highly scattered and segmented intocategories such as solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels and many different time-consuming searches involving a plethora of sites are necessary to pull together critical data.

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