Frontiers in the Environment with Alexandra Klass, IonE Resident Fellow and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Law School; and Elizabeth Wilson, IonE Resident Fellow and Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
As state and local governments and electricity users attempt to improve the efficiency of their buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize the promises of improved demand-side management of energy resources, the need for electricity and other energy-related data becomes ever more pressing. Yet current law allows companies to keep a significant amount of energy use data confidential. In this talk we will draw lessons from the more sophisticated legal frameworks governing health care, education and environmental emissions data that balance public policy needs for data evaluation with privacy interests. A review of the law in these fields shows that the privacy and confidentiality interests in energy consumption data may be overstated and, in any event, can be adequately addressed in most instances by aggregating the data, using historic rather than current data, or developing contracts and other agreements to ensure security where access to individualized data is needed.