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Publication Date
17 December 2018

Informing energy consumption uncertainty: an analysis of energy data revisions



Quality energy consumption data are important for many types of analysis, and global data sets estimate trends of county-level energy consumption, derived from country reported data and regional reports. We present a novel basis for informing uncertainty in energy data by quantifying the changes in reported energy consumption as countries update their previously reported data. We use 17 editions of the British Petroleum World Energy Statistics (2001–2017) to evaluate how reported energy consumption is revised over time in aggregate coal, oil, and natural gas consumption data. We find that 70% of non-zero data points are adjusted by an average of 1.3% of a country's total fossil fuel use in the year after their first publication. Earlier data points are revised less often, but almost half of historical trends contain some revisions in later years. The size and rate of data revisions vary over countries and fuels: coal data points have larger, less frequent revisions while oil data points have smaller more frequent revisions, with natural gas in between. A k-means cluster analysis was performed to group together countries with similar revision patterns. These groups span income, economy classification, OECD membership, and regions. Standard country groupings, therefore, do not predict the extent to which a country's energy data has undergone revisions in the past.

Hoesly, Rachel M, and Steven Smith. 2018. “Informing Energy Consumption Uncertainty: An Analysis Of Energy Data Revisions”. Environmental Research Letters 13: 124023. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aaebc3.
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