Mark Stevens

Launch of Northwest Clean Energy Atlas

What energy resources power the four states of the Northwest? Where are the largest industrial greenhouse gas emitters? Is electricity produced with the same resources in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington? How has our energy story changed over time?

You will find the answers to these questions and many more with the Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI)’s new Northwest Clean Energy Atlas.

An Interactive Visual Tool to Understand Northwest Energy

The challenges facing a rapid energy transition are complex and constantly evolving. Having access to detailed, up-to-date, and transparent energy system data is critical for policymakers, businesses, advocates, and the public to make informed decisions and track the progress of the clean energy transition.

With support and resources from the Tableau Foundation, and inspired by the impressive Oregon Department of Energy 2020 Biennial Energy Report, CETI developed the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas to provide regional stakeholders interactive tools to explore energy data relevant to deep decarbonization in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Numerous agencies and organizations track how Northwest states produce, purchase, and use energy. Yet different levels of detail, accessibility, and transparency make researching and comparing data among the states challenging. Since the lowest-cost deep decarbonization pathway in the Northwest involves coordination and cooperation among the four states, it is critical that regional stakeholders have access to aggregated data and visualizations to help drive regionally focused energy system planning and analysis.

Beta Launch Dataset Categories

The May 2022 beta version of the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas offers data visualizations of emissions, energy, and utilities in the Northwest. Users can interact with the visualizations to answer specific questions about energy resources and uses, greenhouse gas emissions by gas type, industry sectors, electric utilities, and more.

Emissions

Three Atlas visualizations focus on emissions, including the Northwest Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Emitting Facilities, by Industrial Process map, which shows the locations of the largest emitting facilities in the Northwest.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a “large emitting facility” as one that emits 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO₂e) per year (the equivalent to the emissions of approximately 3,000 homes for one year of energy use). These large emitting facilities are required to report their emissions to the EPA through the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

Users interact with this visualization by filtering for industry sectors and industrial processes. For example, we can choose pulp and paper manufacturing from the list of Emissions by Process on the right. After applying this filter, we can see the resulting concentration of pulp and paper manufacturing facilities in Washington and Oregon (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Or, in the related map, Northwest Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Emitting Facilities, by Gas, users can filter by gas type. For example, when we choose methane from the list of Emissions by Gas, we can see that most of the facilities emitting methane are waste facilities, colored in light brown (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Let’s say we want to focus on facilities outside of the waste sector that emit the most methane. We can choose to exclude the waste sector from the list of Industry Sectors on the right. When applying this filter, the resulting map shows facilities emitting methane, aside from those in the waste sector (Figure 3). Hovering over the dots also reveals details about each facility with methane emissions.

Figure 3

Energy

In the Atlas’ Energy section, you will find visualizations that tell stories about where energy comes from and how it is used in the region. For example, Northwest Energy Resources Used to Produce Electricity shows the energy resources used to produce electricity in the Northwest, both historically since 1962 and most recently in 2018.

We can see that hydroelectric power, colored in dark blue, is the Northwest’s dominant source of electricity (Figure 4). Using the dropdown menu in the upper right corner, we can see how electricity is produced differently in each of the four states. In Figure 5, for example, we see Montana’s reliance on coal, colored in grey, for electricity production.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Using the dropdown menu to continue toggling through the states, we can see that Idaho is the only state that imports electricity to meet its demand (Figure 6). We can use the lower visualization to trace historical trends in Idaho’s electricity production. Examining this visualization, we see that the percentage of imported electricity, colored in dark grey, in the state has been decreasing over the last two decades, from 64% in 2001 to 32% in 2018.

Figure 6

Utilities

The Atlas also offers information about utilities in Washington and Oregon. For example, Washington Electric Utilities Overview shows electric utilities in Washington by ownership type (investor-owned utilities (IOUs); municipal utilities and public utility districts (PUDs); and cooperative utilities (Figure 7). The current version of the Atlas includes electric utility data for Washington only, and natural gas utility data for both Washington and Oregon. We will present future utility visualizations for all four Northwest states as we obtain the data.

Figure 7

Using the sort functions on the bar graphs, we can see which utilities have the most expensive electricity (Figure 8) and which utilities have the highest average emissions rates (Figure 9).

Figure 8
Figure 9

Share Feedback

CETI hopes that the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas promotes engagement and interaction among policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders.  We would be grateful if you would share your feedback, including any future data visualizations you would like to see, with us here.

Get started exploring the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas!

Ruby Moore-Bloom

Researcher
Ruby joined the Clean Energy Transition Institute in January 2022 as a Researcher. She is committed to working toward a clean energy future in the Northwest.
FULL BIO & OTHER POSTS

Launch of Northwest Clean Energy Atlas

What energy resources power the four states of the Northwest? Where are the largest industrial greenhouse gas emitters? Is electricity produced with the same resources in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington? How has our energy story changed over time?

You will find the answers to these questions and many more with the Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI)’s new Northwest Clean Energy Atlas.

An Interactive Visual Tool to Understand Northwest Energy

The challenges facing a rapid energy transition are complex and constantly evolving. Having access to detailed, up-to-date, and transparent energy system data is critical for policymakers, businesses, advocates, and the public to make informed decisions and track the progress of the clean energy transition.

With support and resources from the Tableau Foundation, and inspired by the impressive Oregon Department of Energy 2020 Biennial Energy Report, CETI developed the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas to provide regional stakeholders interactive tools to explore energy data relevant to deep decarbonization in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Numerous agencies and organizations track how Northwest states produce, purchase, and use energy. Yet different levels of detail, accessibility, and transparency make researching and comparing data among the states challenging. Since the lowest-cost deep decarbonization pathway in the Northwest involves coordination and cooperation among the four states, it is critical that regional stakeholders have access to aggregated data and visualizations to help drive regionally focused energy system planning and analysis.

Beta Launch Dataset Categories

The May 2022 beta version of the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas offers data visualizations of emissions, energy, and utilities in the Northwest. Users can interact with the visualizations to answer specific questions about energy resources and uses, greenhouse gas emissions by gas type, industry sectors, electric utilities, and more.

Emissions

Three Atlas visualizations focus on emissions, including the Northwest Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Emitting Facilities, by Industrial Process map, which shows the locations of the largest emitting facilities in the Northwest.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a “large emitting facility” as one that emits 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO₂e) per year (the equivalent to the emissions of approximately 3,000 homes for one year of energy use). These large emitting facilities are required to report their emissions to the EPA through the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

Users interact with this visualization by filtering for industry sectors and industrial processes. For example, we can choose pulp and paper manufacturing from the list of Emissions by Process on the right. After applying this filter, we can see the resulting concentration of pulp and paper manufacturing facilities in Washington and Oregon (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Or, in the related map, Northwest Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Large Emitting Facilities, by Gas, users can filter by gas type. For example, when we choose methane from the list of Emissions by Gas, we can see that most of the facilities emitting methane are waste facilities, colored in light brown (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Let’s say we want to focus on facilities outside of the waste sector that emit the most methane. We can choose to exclude the waste sector from the list of Industry Sectors on the right. When applying this filter, the resulting map shows facilities emitting methane, aside from those in the waste sector (Figure 3). Hovering over the dots also reveals details about each facility with methane emissions.

Figure 3

Energy

In the Atlas’ Energy section, you will find visualizations that tell stories about where energy comes from and how it is used in the region. For example, Northwest Energy Resources Used to Produce Electricity shows the energy resources used to produce electricity in the Northwest, both historically since 1962 and most recently in 2018.

We can see that hydroelectric power, colored in dark blue, is the Northwest’s dominant source of electricity (Figure 4). Using the dropdown menu in the upper right corner, we can see how electricity is produced differently in each of the four states. In Figure 5, for example, we see Montana’s reliance on coal, colored in grey, for electricity production.

Figure 4

Figure 5

Using the dropdown menu to continue toggling through the states, we can see that Idaho is the only state that imports electricity to meet its demand (Figure 6). We can use the lower visualization to trace historical trends in Idaho’s electricity production. Examining this visualization, we see that the percentage of imported electricity, colored in dark grey, in the state has been decreasing over the last two decades, from 64% in 2001 to 32% in 2018.

Figure 6

Utilities

The Atlas also offers information about utilities in Washington and Oregon. For example, Washington Electric Utilities Overview shows electric utilities in Washington by ownership type (investor-owned utilities (IOUs); municipal utilities and public utility districts (PUDs); and cooperative utilities (Figure 7). The current version of the Atlas includes electric utility data for Washington only, and natural gas utility data for both Washington and Oregon. We will present future utility visualizations for all four Northwest states as we obtain the data.

Figure 7

Using the sort functions on the bar graphs, we can see which utilities have the most expensive electricity (Figure 8) and which utilities have the highest average emissions rates (Figure 9).

Figure 8
Figure 9

Share Feedback

CETI hopes that the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas promotes engagement and interaction among policymakers, advocates, and other stakeholders.  We would be grateful if you would share your feedback, including any future data visualizations you would like to see, with us here.

Get started exploring the Northwest Clean Energy Atlas!

Ruby Moore-Bloom

Researcher
Ruby joined the Clean Energy Transition Institute in January 2022 as a Researcher. She is committed to working toward a clean energy future in the Northwest.
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