U.S. Energy History 1800-2019

You can watch the changes in United States energy generation and use in a very cool animated Sankey diagram.

This was developed by University of Chicago’s Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) and is based on Suits, Matteson, and Moyer (2020) “Energy Transitions in U.S. History: 1800–2019”.

Click here to access RDCEP website and view 220 years of U.S. energy history.

You can play the whole period or use the timeline slider to jump to a specific year. At the top, next to the year, see the per capita use of energy rises from 3.660 W/cap to over 10.000 W/cap today.


  1. murk says:

    What software do you think was used to make this? I love the fact that not only is it a Sankey, but it has the time slider. I would love to do something like this. Any advice?

  2. phineas says:

    @murk: not sure, probably some software developed by themselves.

    On the About page they mention “Graphics were built by Nathan Matteson, DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media, and members of U. Chicago’s Research Computation Center”.

    You might want to contact them directly and ask. On the Contact page they say they “would especially welcome inquiries from… [r]esearchers interested in using our tools or software. “

  3. Sorry to have run across this so many months after it was posted. @murk you’re welcome to contact me at nmatteson@depaul.edu or matteson@obstructures.org if you’d like to chat about how this was created. I’m afraid to say the code was all rolled by hand but it’s on github and you’re welcome to make use of it (if it proves at all useful).

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