Sankey diagrams of Canada's energy systems

Sankey diagrams are often used to represent the flows of energy from sources (e.g. oil, gas, uranium) through commodities (e.g. gasoline, electricity) to sectorial energy demands (e.g. residential, mobility, commercial and institutional). The magnitude of the energy flow is proportional to the line thickness. Try using the options at the top of the chart to compare provinces or years, or to plot either all components of our energy systems or only the energy flows needed to meet domestic demand. You can also select whether to have the Sankey diagram display values as total energy flow (PJ), energy flows per person (GJ/capita) or energy flows per gross domestic product (MJ/$2002GDP).

We choosed to represent six end-use sectors for energy:

  1. Non energy: energy commodities (refined pretroleum products, natural gas etc) embedded in material such as paints, varnishes, plastics, etc.
  2. Personal Transport: includes personal vehicles, public transit, airplanes, etc.
  3. Residential: includes lighting, heating, cooking, plugloads, etc. for where people live 
  4. Freight Transport: the movement of goods including by truck, train, ship, pipelines, etc. 
  5. Commercial and Institutional: includes lighting, heating and cooling in all commercial and institutional buildings (warehouses, stores, office buildings, universities, schools etc) 
  6. Industrial: the industry sectors that use (not produce) energy for manufacturing, mining, steel, cement, chemical industries, etc. In our energy Sankeys, the energy producing industry sectors are considered ‘service’ industries in the centre of the diagram that provide energy commodities such as refined petroleum production, pipelined natural gas, electricity etc. for the end use sectors.
  • What is "e for e (in/out)"? “e for e = energy for energy” Energy recovery and conversion facilities typically require other fuels to produce their energy commodities (e.g. even an oil refinery needs electricity). However, the Sankey software we use does not allow energy to flow from the right to left. So in the Sankey diagrams we combine the energy currencies needed for energy recovery/conversion and send it out the right side of the diagram, and into the left side.
  • Want to compare provinces or years? Lock the scale by checking the box in the options. Uncheck the box to display the Sankey using the best scale available.
  • The Sankey looks a bit cluttered? You can drag and drop flows by clicking on nodes.
  • Sankey not displaying? Sankey diagrams may not display if you use Internet Explorer prior to version 10 -- recent versions of all other browsers are working fine.
  • Numbers and flows may not add up due to rounding.
  1. The values were obtained from the Canadian Energy Systems Simulator (CanESS) model which was built and calibrated with 32 years of historical data drawn from government sources such as Statistics Canada, Natural resources Canada, Environment Canada, National Energy Board, etc.
  2. The CanESS model not only calculates energy flows, it also calculates the greenhouse gas emissions that occur when energy is converted from one form into another, or when energy commodities are used to provide energy services. Theses Sankeys do not show greenhouse gas emissions but that data can be visualized here.
  3. The CanESS model can project future energy flows and greenhouse gas emissions based on assumptions about population change, GDP growth and technology choices.

This Sankey diagram is version 0.9 (data build: 140407).

Select the scope and a year

CESAR | Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research

Canada's Energy Systems in 2013



Natural gas





End-use energy

Crude Oil and petroleum products

Bioenergy and renewable electricity

Energy Industry Use & Losses


Primary energy

Imports and exports

Extraction & conversion technologies

Fuel & electricity for energy industry

Powered by CanESS

Data source: CanESS v7.
Sankey diagram built with D3’s Sankey plugin.