The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

About This Website


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. They produce groundbreaking reports that have helped shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance research. Over many decades, the institutions have distinguished themselves as the nation's premier source of independent, expert advice on scientific, engineering, and medical issues.

In their role as adviser to the federal government on science and technology policy, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have conducted numerous studies on the topic of energy. The information on this site draws on that body of material and on other authoritative sources in order to offer a basic toolkit of facts and concepts to use in assessing various energy claims and proposals. (See a complete list of sources.)


The information on this site was derived from data provided by the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy and from relevant reports and studies of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The site text was written by Curt Suplee and edited by Stephen Mautner and Thomas Burnett in collaboration with Jim Zucchetto, Alan Crane, Dick Rowberg, Martin Offut, and the National Research Council’s Board on Energy and Environmental Systems.

Special thanks to Emily Carter, Ben Cooper, Richard Meserve, Mike Ranage, and Richard Socolow for their review of the information on the site, and to Beth Zeitler for her contributions to and review of special site features. Additional thanks to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for their contributions.

The site was re-designed and developed by Kris Meister and his colleagues at Alien Communications based on an original design by Threespot, LLC.

Copyright 2016 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Illustration Credits

All artwork by Kurt Barnes and copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Pie charts, bar graphs, and line graphs based on information from the Energy Information Administration except for “Our Energy Flow" (U.S. and California charts), which are based on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's energy flow diagram. "Our Energy Flow" (MD, OH, PA, WV Region) was produced by Sustainable Pittsburgh.

For permission information regarding the use of any illustrations on this website, please contact us.

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