The Public Utility Data Liberation Project

Project Status: Active – The project has reached a stable, usable state and is being actively developed. Travis CI Build Status Read the Docs Build Status Codecov Test Coverage Codacy Grade PyPI Version conda-forge Version

PUDL makes US energy data easier to access and work with. Hundreds of gigabytes of supposedly public information published by government agencies, but in a bunch of different formats that can be hard to work with and combine. PUDL takes these spreadsheets, CSV files, and databases and turns them into easy to parse, well-documented tabular data packages that can be used to create a database, used directly with Python, R, Microsoft Access, and lots of other tools.

The project currently contains data from:

We are especially interested in serving researchers, activists, journalists, and policy makers that might not otherwise be able to afford access to this data from commercial data providers.

Getting Started (Legacy PostgreSQL Edition)

Just want to play with some example data? Install Anaconda (or miniconda if you like the command line) with at least Python 3.7. Set up a local PostgreSQL database to receive the data as explained in this documentation.

NOTE: This example requires a computer with at least 4 GB of RAM and several GB of free disk space. You will also need to download about ~100 MB of data. This could take a while if you have a slow internet connection.

Run the following commands in your terminal:

$ conda create -y -n pudl -c conda-forge --strict-channel-priority python=3.7 catalystcoop.pudl jupyter jupyterlab pip
$ conda activate pudl
$ mkdir pudl-work
$ cd pudl-work
$ pudl_setup
$ pudl_data --sources eia923 eia860 ferc1 epacems epaipm --years 2017 --states id
$ ferc1_to_sqlite settings/ferc1_to_sqlite_example.yml
$ pudl_etl settings/etl_postgresql_example.yml
$ jupyter lab --notebook-dir=notebook

This will install the PUDL Python package and its dependencies within a conda environment named pudl, create some local directories inside a workspace directory called pudl-work, download the most recent year of data from the public agencies, load it into a local PostgreSQL database, and open up a folder with some example Jupyter noteboooks in your web browser. If all of those steps are successful, you can download additional data, edit the settings files to suit your needs, and re-run the process to load more data.

NOTE: (2019-09-12) We have transitioned to generating CSV/JSON based tabular data packages, which are then loaded into a local SQLite database to make setting up PUDL easier. This release is provided for reference purposes, in case there are users who depend on the PostgreSQL version. Much of the documentation here does not correspond to the PostgreSQL database version of PUDL, and should be ignored. We strongly encourage all users to install the most recent version of PUDL, which doesn’t depend on PostgreSQL. This version will not be maintained.

For more details, see the full PUDL documentation.

Contributing to PUDL

Find PUDL useful? Want to help make it better? There are lots of ways to contribute!

  • Please be sure to read our Code of Conduct

  • You can file a bug report, make a feature request, or ask questions in the Github issue tracker.

  • Feel free to fork the project and make a pull request with new code, better documentation, or example notebooks.

  • Make a financial contribution to support our work liberating public energy data.

  • Hire us to do some custom analysis, and let us add the code the project.

  • For more information check out our Contribution Guidelines


The PUDL software is released under the MIT License. The PUDL documentation and the data packages we distribute are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Contact Us

For help with initial setup, usage questions, bug reports, suggestions to make PUDL better and anything else that could conceivably be of use or interest to the broader community of users, use the PUDL issue tracker. on Github. For private communication about the project, you can email the team:

About Catalyst Cooperative

Catalyst Cooperative is a small group of data scientists and policy wonks. We’re organized as a worker-owned cooperative consultancy. Our goal is a more just, livable, and sustainable world. We integrate public data and perform custom analyses to inform public policy making. Our focus is primarily on mitigating climate change and improving electric utility regulation in the United States.

Do you work on renewable energy or climate policy? Have you found yourself scraping data from government PDFs, spreadsheets, websites, and databases, without getting something reusable? We build tools to pull this kind of information together reliably and automatically so you can focus on your real work instead — whether that’s political advocacy, energy journalism, academic research, or public policy making.