The U.S. Energy Information Administration, which collects, analyzes, and disseminates much of the nation’s independent energy information, is making its data available to the public through a new online service for the first time that will allow developers to capture and present electricity data on the web and through mobile applications.
The new application programming interface (API), will give developers access to data on electricity generation, retail sales, and average prices, and the types of fuel that are used to generate electricity at the state and national levels, according to EIA’s Mark Elbert. Electricity generation and fuel consumption data for individual power plants with more than 1 megawatt of capacity also are available.
The new data application tool was one of a number of initiatives announced at a White House-sponsored Energy Datapalooza event Oct. 1, promoting the availability of government energy data for the public’s use.
“EIA’s API will enable independent developers to create innovative information technology applications that can be used to improve energy decision-making,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. “The value of EIA’s data will be enhanced even further when it is combined with data beyond what the agency collects, such as market or environmental data.”
Elbert said that developers will like be particularly interested in the fact that the longitude and latitude information of individual electricity plants will be provided with each data series, along with standards based country and state codes are provided, where applicable. These metadata will permit advanced mapping applications, he said.
EIA also plans to release petroleum and natural gas data for the API, along with state energy estimates. As these data sets are added over the coming months, the total number of data series available through EIA’s API will grow.
Currently, EIA’s API is released as a beta product. As of September 21, 2012, it contains 427,000 electricity series, but is expected to grow to more than a million in the coming months.
APIs are part of the federal government’s broader government-wide Digital Government Strategy which aims to make federal data more transparent, customer-centered, and more available for the public to use.
Details about the free API key are available at www.eia.gov/developer.