Energy Modeling & Pathways

Energy Modeling and Pathways

Researchers at the International Energy Analysis Department 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 BUENASCO2 Emissions Impact by Strategy

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

National Modeling: Demand Resources Energy Analysis Model (DREAM)

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. 

Subnational Modeling: Green Resources & Energy Analysis Tool (GREAT)

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.

Energy Savings by Sector