How can we take control of our energy future in the United States? Unstable policies in the past have placed the American nation in quite a precarious position today. By solidifying policy and adopting smart solutions, we can unleash investment and economic development while securing more stability for our future.
Thanks to San Francisco-based clean energy think tank Energy Innovation LLC, we now have a grip on the 15 most cost-effective policies for accelerating US clean energy and reaching our 2025 decarbonization targets. The firm, which specializes in clean energy and environmental rules, released policy recommendations last week based on a first-of-its-kind quantitative computer model called the Energy Policy Simulator.
The simulator examines emission reductions in light of policies in the following areas:
- Finance (a modest, adjustable, revenue-neutral carbon tax),
- New technology (industrial efficiency standards, reduced F-gases, methane capture, and clean on-site energy),
- Transportation (car feebate [fee on inefficient/rebate for efficient cars], fuel economy standards, urban mobility, and electric vehicles),
- Energy shifts (coal plant retirements, renewable energy, improved transmission, higher coal efficiency),
- Buildings (codes, appliance standards, and retrofits), and
- Land use (forest expansion).
Using the model, anyone—from policymaker to environmental advocate to industry analyst—can set preferences and priorities to build, analyze, and compare decarbonization scenarios. The simulator uses publicly available data measuring 12 different pollutants. Peers at leading U.S. universities and national laboratories have reviewed its performance. The measures are associated with a 2025 dateline, the national emissions target.
As shown in the cost and savings graph of policy solutions, one complete model run predicts that the annual effects of the 15 policies examined will produce a savings of $250 billion by 2030. It anticipates only a slight rise for the cost of initiating the policies. The line represents direct capital expenditures and operational savings on an annual basis.
The simulator can both analyze the most cost-effective policies to fulfill US emissions targets and estimate the hundreds of billions of dollars in additional costs from delaying policy implementation. View the web-based app at this link.
Company officials provided a full demonstration of the computer modeling system last week. Energy Innovation has also performed interesting assessments of the US Clean Power Plan and the UN’s INDC decarbonization goals, the policy combinations required to reach both, and the $630 billion potential savings achievable versus the $500 billion costs of delay.
The video above introduces the computer model. To date, the Energy Policy Simulator has analyzed over 50 climate and energy policies.