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The National Energy Modeling System
To support longer term energy modeling, new approaches and data are needed to (1) assess undiscovered resources in DOE resource assessments, (2) appropriately account for the large unconventional oil and gas resources into the assessment, (3) estimate the effects of continued evolution in extraction technology and production costs, and (4) evaluate the future contributions of coal, nuclear, and renewable energy, taking into account their economics and environmental implications.
Data requirements for renewables are different from those for fossil fuels. The difference between discovered reserves and undiscovered resources has no parallel for renewable resources. The modeling problem for renewable resources is lack of data on early adoption potential in small low-cost resource pockets and small high-value market niches.
The nation will be spending several trillion dollars over the next thirty years at satisfying our increasing demands for energy services. Federal investments in technologies for both supply and end use will be evaluated based not only on cost effectiveness but also on environmental and national security concerns. If a better modeling system can guide energy investments in a way that addresses environmental and national security concerns and reduces costs by only a percent, it will have paid for itself a thousand-fold. The remaining chapters of this report lay out the requirements, a proposed architecture, and a strategy for management that the committee feels will result in a modeling system that will respond to the nation's needs.