Energy Modeling and Pathways
ETA international researchers have developed and continually refined detailed, bottom-up national energy end-use models to evaluate potential future pathways and road maps for two key countries with fast-growing energy demand: China and India. Begun in 2005 in response to a growing policy focus in the Chinese government on energy efficiency, we developed the China 2050 DREAM model. This was followed by the development of the India 2050 DREAM model, and work is currently underway to develop similar national models for Mexico, Indonesia and South Africa. These models build on detailed stock turnover modeling for end-uses developed in BUENAS.
Our national models have been used to:
- Perform detailed energy and emissions analyses at national, sectoral and technology levels
- Conduct retrospective and prospective sectoral and cross-cutting policy impact evaluation
- Evaluate energy demand and supply options
- Develop medium- and long-term outlooks for low-emissions pathways for greenhouse gases and air pollutants
Modeling Capabilities and Applications
Our national DREAM models are unique in their levels of detail at the end-use technology level, cross-sectoral linkages, and differ from other models in using physical drivers for energy consuming activities.
Our modeling research provides the analytical basis for planning and assessing progress, defining performance targets and strategies for validating technologies and systems, conducting systems-level policy, industry, and environmental analyses, developing and implementing effective policies and programs, and reviewing and evaluating external analyses and studies.
Our research has supported the development of national policies and targets in China and India, including China’s 12th and 13th Five Year Plans for energy development, as well as policies and measures across the buildings, industrial and transport including building efficiency standards and industrial efficiency and transport electrification road maps. In 2020, we launched the first annual China Energy Outlook that reviews the latest energy and emissions trends and national progress towards energy targets, status of recent energy policies, and our latest 2050 outlook for China based on the DREAM model. We have also expanded the model to include energy-water nexus, selected air pollutant emissions, and non-CO2 greenhouse gas modeling capabilities.
Local impacts in cities are another focus. To this end, we've developed GREAT, a regional modeling tool applicable for subnational regions or cities. GREAT helps local governments explore potential energy and emission reduction opportunities and create action plans for low carbon development. Users such as energy policy analysts and researchers can customize the model to a given city or region by entering detailed data to develop scenario pathways.
Policymakers and city planners in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Jinan have used GREAT to inform the development of their city energy and environmental plans.
A modernized power grid fueled by renewable energy is at the heart of China’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2060, and a new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) outlines how China can overcome the current logistical challenges of decarbonizing its power system by reforming some key select operational practices.
Key findings from the 2020 China Energy Outlook report — which outlines a path for continuous improvement of energy efficiency and emissions through 2050 in China — were recently highlighted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
India has set ambitious targets for renewable power, with plans to quintuple its current wind and solar energy capacity by 2030. The country’s transition away from fossil fuels will have a significant impact on global climate efforts, since it is the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter – although its per capita emissions are below the global average.