Northwest State Energy Flows
QUESTION(S) Answered
Where does energy come from and go to in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington? How much of the region’s energy is produced by renewable energy resources produce compared to fossil fuel resources? Which sectors use the most energy in each state?

These Sankey diagrams show proportionate energy flows to reveal energy resources and uses for each of the four Northwest states from 1960-2020, in Trillion Btus (TBtus). Note that the 2020 data reflect COVID-19’s impact on energy use and consumption.

Read from left to right, the diagrams show which energy resources are produced versus imported in each state, whether energy is used for electricity generation or for four end-use sectors (commercial, industry, residential, transportation), and whether the energy is wasted, used, or exported as electricity. Montana is a major energy producer, while Idaho, Oregon, and Washington import a large portion of energy. Montana, Oregon, and Washington all export surplus electricity, while Idaho does not.

The flow to "energy wasted" shows all energy that is not harnessed, including energy lost as heat during combustion or transformation into electricity. Waste energy for the end-use sectors is calculated using end-use efficiency estimates: 65% for residential sector, 65% for the commercial sector, 21% for the transportation sector, and 49% for the industrial sector.

The transportation sector for all four states relies primarily on petroleum, along with some natural gas and biomass. Natural gas is primarily used for heating in commercial and residential buildings, as well as for direct use in industrial processes, such as manufacturing and chemical extraction. Hydropower, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, and biomass are all used to produce electricity generation, which powers residential, commercial, and industrial consumption.

Note: Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.

How to Use

Read from left to right to trace the flow of each energy resource. The width of the line is proportionate to the quantity of energy in Trillion Btus (TBtus) by resource.

Hover your mouse over the Sankey diagram to see exact figures for each energy flow. You can also click and drag the energy flow lines to change the view.

Filter by state (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington) and year (1960-2020) using the dropdown menu in the upper left-hand corner. You can see which energy resources are produced versus imported and how they are used in each state, and you can toggle between the states and years to see how the energy usage changes.

For additional comparative analysis of the energy use for each of the four Northwest states, please see here.