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Fifteen accomplishments worth celebrating in 2015


Fifteen accomplishments worth celebrating in 2015

For the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2015 was a year of notable accomplishments. Here, in no particular order, are 15 EIA highlights from 2015.

State-level estimates of small scale solar PV capacity and generation

With the release of December's Electric Power Monthly, EIA began reporting monthly estimates of small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation and capacity by state and sector. Previously, EIA provided monthly state-level data for utility-scale generation sources, including solar, but only annual national-level generation and capacity estimates for small-scale solar PV.

Crude by rail

EIA now provides monthly data on rail movements of crude oil, which have significantly increased over the past five years. The new data on crude-by-rail (CBR) movements are integrated with EIA's existing monthly petroleum supply statistics, which already include movements by pipeline, tanker, and barge. The new monthly time series of crude oil rail movements includes shipments to and from Canada and dramatically reduces the absolute level of unaccounted for volumes in EIA's monthly balances for each region.

International Energy Portal

On May 18, EIA launched a beta version of a redesigned International Energy Portal that helps users access international energy data and provides new and expanded tools and capabilities to examine trends in global energy markets. The International Energy Portal provides users with increased access to data, new user-driven customization, new data visualization features, improved access to international analysis, and easier data downloads.

New Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) methods

By going directly to the American public in five cities via web and mail only, EIA collected home energy characteristics in 60% less time and cost than traditional in-person approaches. With these new collection strategies, EIA will be able to produce a more frequent, cost-effective data series that is more responsive to rapid changes in the residential demand sector. A national test of new collection modes against EIA's benchmark RECS is running now through February 2016.

EIA report on U.S. crude oil exports

EIA released its Effects of Removing Restrictions on U.S. Crude Oil Exports report in response to interest about how the relaxation or removal of then current policies, which restricted but did not ban exports of crude oil produced in the United States, might affect markets for both crude oil and petroleum products over the next decade.

Study of petroleum product markets in the western United States

The western United States accounts for approximately one out of every six gallons of gasoline consumed nationally, and transportation fuels markets in this region have features that often result in significant and persistent increases in prices during supply disruptions. EIA's PADD 5 Transportation Fuels Markets report examines supply, demand, and distribution of transportation fuels in Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) 5, a region that includes the western states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Expanded coverage of natural gas production

In July, EIA expanded its reporting of monthly natural gas production by 10 additional states. The addition of these states—Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia—significantly enhanced EIA's monthly coverage, which was previously limited to Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, and the federal Gulf of Mexico.

New tools for users of EIA data

EIA continued its efforts to provide energy data to its customers more efficiently. EIA's free data add-in for Microsoft Excel for Windows builds on the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) add-in and allows users to find, download, and update EIA's energy data and FRED's economic data directly in any Excel spreadsheet. EIA also added functionality to its data tools to allow users to easily embed widgets of EIA's interactive charts, graphs, and maps onto their website.

Monthly survey-based reporting of U.S. crude oil production with new data by API gravity

With the release of August's Petroleum Supply Monthly, EIA began incorporating the first survey-based reporting of monthly U.S. crude oil production statistics. EIA now collects monthly oil production data from a sample of operators of oil and natural gas wells in 15 individual Lower 48 states and the federal Gulf of Mexico. For the other oil-producing states and areas not individually covered by the survey, production is estimated using lagged state data. EIA is also now reporting crude oil production volumes by API gravity for the individually surveyed states and the federal Gulf of Mexico, along with a Lower 48 states total.

EIA report on the impacts of the Clean Power Plan

EIA's Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan report responded to an August 2014 request to EIA from Representative Lamar Smith, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, for an analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan under which states would be required to develop plans to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rates from existing fossil-fired electricity generating units.

North American cooperation on energy information

The United States began collaboration with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts to create North American energy maps, to reconcile energy trade flows data between the three countries, and to develop common terminologies and outlook comparisons across national energy data reports and analyses. As trilateral energy trade continues to grow, the reconciliation and harmonization of energy statistics, maps, and analysis allows policy makers and industry to make more informed decisions and to undertake deeper and broader initiatives regarding North American energy cooperation.

Data on spent nuclear fuel in the United States

EIA released data from its Nuclear Fuel Data Survey on the amount, type, and characteristics of spent nuclear fuel once it is discharged from a reactor. EIA collected data on spent nuclear fuels annually from 1983 through 1995. Since 1996, EIA collected this data three times. This latest data cover all spent nuclear fuel discharged from and stored at commercial sites before June 30, 2013.

New classifications of natural gas storage regions in Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report publishes weekly natural gas storage inventories by region. In November, EIA began publishing weekly data divided into five regions rather than three regions to better illustrate regional storage trends.

Collaboration Laboratory (CoLab) opening

EIA opened its CoLab in 2015 as a part of the agency's commitment to stimulate internal and external innovation and to promote employee engagement and retention. The CoLab provides an open and technology-intensive venue for employees to meet, connect, and collaborate. CoLab capabilities have been used to host external meetings, including the Trilateral Working Group meeting with Mexico and Canada and the American Statistical Association Committee on Energy Statistics Fall meeting. The CoLab also has helped EIA foster and develop internal community groups by providing ample meeting space and collaborative tools.

2015 EIA Energy Conference

More than 1,000 representatives from industry, government, and academia attended EIA's 2015 Energy Conference held June 15 and 16 in Washington, DC to discuss current and future challenges facing domestic and international energy markets and policymakers. Attendees enjoyed engaging plenary speakers including Dr. Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy; Leonardo Beltrán Rodriguez, Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition Mexico; Harold Hamm, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Continental Resources; Matthew K. Rose, Executive Chairman BNSF Railway Company; JB Straubel, Co-Founder & CTO Tesla Motors; and John Hoeven, U.S. Senator North Dakota.

Mark your calendars now for the 2016 EIA Energy Conference, scheduled for July 11-12 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC.