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Estimated State-Level Energy Flows in 2008

A.J. Simon, R.D. Belles, Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Sankey (or Spaghetti) diagrams parse out the energy flow by state, based on 2008 data from the Dept. of Energy. These diagrams can help bring a local perspective to energy consumption. The estimates include rejected or lost energy but don't necessarily include losses at the ultimate user end that are due to lack of insulation.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • States across the U.S. could be compared and analyzed for similarities and differences.
  • As the document indicates "Livermore has also published charts depicting carbon (or carbon dioxide potential) flow and water flow at the national level as well as energy, carbon, and water flows at the international, state, municipal, and organizational (e.g. Air Force) level." These related charts can be used to gain a more comprehensive view of the linkages between energy, carbon and water.

About the Science

  • Energy is visualized as it flows from resources (coal, oil, natural gas, various renewables) through transformations into electricity or transportation fuels, and to end-user segments (residential, commercial, industrial, transportation).
  • Authoritative data from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
  • The fact that in many states the rejected energy lost into the environment is greater than, and in some cases much greater than, the energy services provided by the energy demonstrates the need for improving energy efficiency and reducing waste.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The Energy Flow conceptual maps from 2008 are constructed from publicly available data on estimates of energy use and patterns.
  • These diagrams can help frame the flow of energy through the infrastructure of a particular state and provide a local or regional snapshot of energy sources and waste.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The diagrams are bundled as a large PDF requiring searching for the state of particular interest to the learner.
  • Downloadable document.

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