Amid Solar Storm, EIA Defends Itself

Deck: 

Energy Dept.’s EIA shines light on accusations its numbers are anti-solar.

Today in Fortnightly

This storm has been brewing for awhile. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, EIA, is supposedly anti-solar. Indeed, it's anti-renewables. 

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Even though EIA is chartered to be - and has been - consistently unbiased, as the energy policy debates of the day have swirled around. Even though EIA is an agency of the Obama administration, not known to be anti-renewables. 

On March 24, EIA went to great lengths to defend its data reports and projections on renewables. In a comprehensive publication, the agency demonstrated its work in renewables has been reasonably accurate. Rebutting the narrative that EIA repeatedly underestimates current and future renewable capacity and generation, particularly solar. 

Cited in the publication were critical articles in or by Greentech Media, Scientific American, American Energy Economy, Cleantechnica, and Politico. But just Google: "Energy Department underestimates solar." You'll see a solar storm of criticisms. Including a petition drive: "Tell the Department of Energy. Stop the bias against renewable energy."

Despite the criticisms, EIA's track record is good. The agency increased its data collection and analysis so that all solar capacity and generation is in the numbers. The elusive home rooftop sector too.

The publication emphasizes that the projections of renewable capacity and generation are based on government policies in place. They are not speculative as to future policy directions. Government policies are decisive, this pub shows, in determining how fast or slow renewables grow.

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What does it say about the policy debates about renewables that the Obama administration's EIA must defend its lack of bias in its data reports and projections? 

 

As the magazine for commentary, opinion and debate on utility regulation and policy since 1929, Public Utilities Fortnightly fosters vigorous arguments on the hottest issues of our day, while remaining as unbiased as the EIA.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com