Water Resources Research Report



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The system dynamics-based energy sector described here adds a representation of energy supply and demand dynamics, and their associated carbon emissions, to a larger society-biosphere-climate model previously described in Davies and Simonovic (2008). The inclusion of an energy sector expands the earlier model considerably, and provides new avenues for its application to policy development.

Five interconnected components constitute the full energy sector: demand, resources, economics, production, and emissions. The energy demand component calculates changes over time in heatenergy and electric-energy demand as a result of economic activity, price-induced efficiency measures, and technological change. Energy resources models changes in the amounts of three non-renewable energy resources -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- as a result of depletion and new discoveries. Energy economics, the largest of the energy sector components, models investment into the maximum production capacities for primary energy and electricity, based on market forces or the prescriptions of policy makers. Energy production represents the supply portion of the energy sector by producing primary (heat) and secondary (electrical) energy to meet energy demands; six electricity production technologies are included, and other options can be added relatively easily. Finally, energy emissions calculates the carbon emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels to meet energy demands, and includes important non-energy processes such as cement production and natural gas flaring.

The body of the report is organized into seven chapters and four appendices. Chapter one serves as an introduction to the document and describes the basic principles and structure of the energy sector. Chapters two through four begin with a brief literature review and description of relevant real-world data, explain the model structure and its development, and end with a summary of preliminary model results. Specifically, chapter two describes the energy supply components of the model (resource extraction and electricity investment and production), chapter three describes the energy demand component, and chapter four describes carbon emissions modelling. Chapter five provides background information on modelling technological change. Chapter six explains the manner in which the energy sector was calibrated to a 1960 start-date and its integration into the larger multi-sectoral model of Davies and Simonovic (2008). Chapter seven describes the integrated model's capabilities and use, limitations, and areas for improvement. The four appendices provide a full listing of all energy sector equations and cross-reference each to the relevant section of the report body (Appendix A), and describe and explain alternative approaches toward the modelling of electricity production capacity (Appendix B), fuel prices (Appendix C), and energy demand (Appendix D).

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario


London, Ontario, Canada


Integrated assessment model, Society-biosphere-climate model, Energy, System dynamics, Model description, Vensim DSS


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Report no.: 063

Energy Sector for the Integrated System Dynamics Model for Analyzing Behaviour of the Social-Economic-Climatic Model