India has no central body for maintaining and disseminating energy data, let alone analysing it. We propose the creation of a national Energy Information Agency to replace the current patchwork of systems. This would collect, standardize and analyse data across energy domains and make it publicly available.

A lack of robust data sets has hampered India's energy research, undermining policy and regulatory compliance. Data from different bodies, some statutory, are often reported as gross averages and lack timeliness; they may be incomplete and vary in accuracy, and depend on different methodologies and assumptions.

A central Energy Information Agency should coordinate with existing data holders, such as the Central Electricity Authority and the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, and with state and private industry. This would encourage the development of new business models and other innovations (see, for example, E. Funkhouser et al. Energy Res. Soc. Sci. 10, 90–101; 2015).

The agency would help India to expand its energy infrastructure and to improve the availability, affordability and reliability of its energy supply. Frameworks for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) are also key to honouring India's commitments under the Paris climate deal.