Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 285–295 | Cite as

A context-inclusive approach to support energy policy formulation and evaluation

Original Article


Observing the many and varied reactions to the Kyoto Protocol, it becomes clear that different governments find themselves in different contexts that eventually direct them toward taking dissimilar positions on energy issues. This paper, through five integrated studies, investigates whether contextualizing energy issues is (are) relevant to support energy policy formulation and evaluation and provides insights into how to operationalize the contextualization. Instead of considering the most widely accepted tools currently used to assess and evaluate energy policy, this research proposes the utilization of a holistic framework that incorporates social, economic and environmental factors as well as their relations to the energy sector to better contextualize global, regional and national energy issues. This framework, which accounts for feedback loops, delays and non-linearity, is applied to case studies to investigate the longer-term performance of selected energy policies. Results of the study indicate the likely emergence of various unexpected side effects and elements of policy resistance over the medium and longer term due to the interrelations existing between energy and society, economy and environment. Furthermore, while side effects and unintended consequences may arise both within the energy sector and in the other sectors, they simultaneously influence society, economy and environment.


System dynamics Energy policy Quantitative models Threshold 21 Energy analysis 


  1. AES Corporation (1993) An overview of the IDEAS MODEL: a dynamic long-term policy simulation model of U.S. Energy Supply And Demand, Arlington, VAGoogle Scholar
  2. American Council on Renewable Energy ACORE (2007) The outlook on renewable energy in AmericaGoogle Scholar
  3. Backus G et al (1979) FOSSIL 79: documentation. Resource Policy Center, Dartmouth College, HanoverGoogle Scholar
  4. Barney GO, Kreutzer WB, Garrentt MJ (1991) Managing a nation: the microcomputer software catalog. Institute for 21st Century Studies and Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  5. Bassi AM (2008) Modeling U.S. energy policy with threshold 21. VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller e.KGoogle Scholar
  6. Bassi AM, Baer AE (2009) Quantifying cross-sectoral impacts of investments in climate change mitigation in Ecuador. Energy Sustain Dev 13:116–123. doi:10.1016/j.esd.2009.05.003
  7. Bassi AM, Drake A (2009) Evaluating the creation of a parallel non-oil transportation system in an oil constrained future, 2009 TRB conference: annual conference of the transportation research board of the national academies of science. Jan 11–15, 2009, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, DC, USAGoogle Scholar
  8. Bassi AM, Yudken JS, Ruth M (2009) Climate policy impacts on the competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors. Energy Policy 37:3052–3060. Google Scholar
  9. Bassi AM, Powers R, Schoenberg W (2010) An integrated approach to energy prospects for North America and the rest of the world. Energy Econ 32:30–42. doi:10.1016/j.eneco.2009.04.005 Google Scholar
  10. Brown SPA, Huntington HG (2008) Energy security and climate change protection: complementarity or tradeoff? Energy Policy 32(6):715–718Google Scholar
  11. Bunn DW, Larsen ER (eds) (1997) Systems modelling for energy policy. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  12. Bush GW (2007) State of the union address. Office of the white house press secretary. Washington, DC: Jan 23, 2007.
  13. CNA Corporation (2007) National security and the threat of climate change. CAN Corporation, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  14. Davidsen PI, Sterman JD, Richardson GP (1990) A petroleum life cycle model for the United States with endogenous technology, exploration, recovery, and demand. Syst Dyn Rev 6(1):66–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Devarajan S, Lewis JD, Robinson S (1991) From stylized to applied models: building multisector models for policy analysis, working paper No. 616, UC BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  16. Drud A, Grais W, Pyatt G (1986) Macroeconomic modeling based on social accounting principles. J Policy Model 8(1):111–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dutch National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Change (2002) Uncertainty assessment of the IMAGE/TIMER B1 CO2 emissions scenario, using the NUSAP methodGoogle Scholar
  18. Fiddaman TS (1997) Feedback complexity in integrated climate-economy models. Sloan School of Management, MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Fishbone LG, Giesen G, Goldstein G, Hymmen HA, Stocks KJ, Vos H, Wilde D, Zöcher R, Balzer C, Abilock H (1983) User’s guide for MARKAL. IEA Energy Technology Systems Analysis ProgrammeGoogle Scholar
  20. Forrester JW (2008) System dynamics—the next fifty years. Syst Dyn Rev 23:359–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Forrester JW et al (2002) Road maps: a guide to learning system dynamics, system dynamics group, Sloan school of management. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  22. Hall CAS, Powers R, Schoenberg W (2008) Peak oil, EROI, investments and the economy in an uncertain future. In: Pimentel D (ed) Biofuels, solar and wind as renewable energy systems: benefits and risks. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  23. Hassett KA, Metcalf GE (2007) An energy tax policy for the twenty-first century. American Enterprise Institute AEI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  24. International Energy Agency IEA (2004) World energy outlook 2004, Annex C—World Energy ModelGoogle Scholar
  25. International Energy Agency IEA (2008) World energy outlook (WEO) 2008, ParisGoogle Scholar
  26. Kopainsky B, Pedercini M, Davidsen P, Alessi SM (2009) A blend of planning and learning: simplifying a simulation model of national development. Simul Gaming. doi:10.1177/1046878109332280
  27. Lengyel GJ (2007) US air force (USAF), Department of defense energy strategy: teaching an old dog new tricks. The Brookings Institution, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  28. Lipp J (2007) Lessons for effective renewable electricity policy from Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. Energy PolicyGoogle Scholar
  29. Loulou R, Goldstein G, Noble K (2004) Documentation for the MARKAL Family of Models. IEA Energy Technology Systems Analysis ProgrammeGoogle Scholar
  30. Loulou R, Remme U, Kanudia A, Lehtila A, Goldstein G (2005) Documentation for the TIMES Model. IEA Energy Technology Systems Analysis ProgrammeGoogle Scholar
  31. Martinsen D, Krey V (2008) Compromises in energy policy—using fuzzy optimization in an energy systems model. Energy PolicyGoogle Scholar
  32. McKinsey Global Institute (2007) Curbing global energy demand growth: the energy productivity opportunity. McKinsey&Company, San Francisco, CAGoogle Scholar
  33. Meadows DH (1980) The unavoidable a priori. In: Randers J (ed) Elements of the system dynamics method. Productivity Press, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  34. Messner S, Schrattenholzer L (2000) MESSAGE-MACRO: linking an energy supply model with a macroeconomic model and solving it interactively. Energy 25:267–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Messner S, Strubegger M (1995) User’s guide for MESSAGE III. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis IIASA, LaxenburgGoogle Scholar
  36. Messner S, Golodnikov A, Gritsevskii A (1996) A stochastic version of the dynamic linear programming model MESSAGE III. Energy 21:775–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Millennium Institute (2005) Threshold 21 (T21) overview. Millennium Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. Naill RF (1977) Managing the energy transition. Ballinger, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  39. National Technical University of Athens NTUA (2006) General equilibrium model for economy-energy-environment, Model ManualGoogle Scholar
  40. Roberts N et al (1983) Introduction to computer simulation. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, p 16Google Scholar
  41. Simmons MR (2005) Twilight in the desert—the coming Saudi oil shock and the world economy. Wiley, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  42. Sterman JD (1981) The energy transition and the economy: a system dynamics approach: 4 v. Sloan School of Management, MIT, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  43. Sterman JD (1988) A skeptic’s guide to computer models. In: Barney GO et al (eds) Managing a nation: the microcomputer software catalog. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 209–229Google Scholar
  44. Sterman JD (2000) Business dynamics: systems thinking and modeling for a complex world. Irwin/McGraw-Hill, BostonGoogle Scholar
  45. Sterman JD et al (1988) Modeling the estimation of petroleum resources in the United States. Technol Forecast Soc Change 33:219–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stern NH, Great Britain Treasury (2007) The economics of climate change: the stern review. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Union of Concerned Scientists UCS (2001) Clean energy blueprint: a smarter national energy policy for today and the future. Union of Concerned Scientists, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  48. United Nations (1997) Kyoto protocol to the United Nations framework convention on climate change.
  49. United States Geological Survey USGS (2000) World Petroleum Assessment 2000Google Scholar
  50. US Congress H.R. 1506: Fuel Economy Reform Act. To increase fuel economy standards for automobiles and for other purposesGoogle Scholar
  51. US Congress S. 1766: Low Carbon Economy act of 2007. A bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of energy, and for other purposesGoogle Scholar
  52. US Congress S. 2191: Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007. A bill to direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, and for other purposesGoogle Scholar
  53. US Congress H.R. 6: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007Google Scholar
  54. US Congress H.R. 969: To amend title VI of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to establish a Federal renewable energy portfolio standard for certain retail electric utilities, and for other purposesGoogle Scholar
  55. US Congress H.R. 2927: To increase the corporate average fuel economy standards for automobiles, to promote the domestic development and production of advanced technology vehicles, and for other purposesGoogle Scholar
  56. US Congressional Budget Office CBO (2008) Policy options for reducing CO2 emissionsGoogle Scholar
  57. US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration EIA (2003) The national energy modeling system: an overview 2003Google Scholar
  58. US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration EIA (2005) Policies to promote non-hydro renewable energy in the United States and selected countries. Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternate FuelsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Millennium InstituteArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations