Our energy modeling activities are focused on the development, support and application of LEAP: the Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System, a widely-used software tool for energy policy analysis and climate change mitigation assessment. We work in three main areas:
- LEAP Development and Support: LEAP has been adopted by thousands of organizations in more than 190 countries worldwide. Its users include government agencies, academics, non-governmental organizations, consulting companies, and energy utilities, and it has been used at many different scales ranging from cities and states to national, regional and even global applications. It is fast becoming the de facto standard for countries undertaking integrated resource planning and greenhouse gas mitigation assessments, especially in the developing world.
LEAP has developed a reputation among its users for presenting complex energy analysis concepts in a transparent and intuitive way. At the same time, LEAP is flexible enough for users with a wide range of expertise: from leading global experts who wish to design polices and demonstrate their benefits to decision makers to trainers who want to build capacity among young analysts who are embarking on the challenge of understanding the complexity of energy systems.
LEAP and its associated training materials and documentation are distributed free of charge to qualified academic, governmental and not-for-profit organizations based in the developing world and to students worldwide.
We continue to develop LEAP and support its many users all around the world. A major new version of LEAP is planned for late 2010 that will for the first time include least cost optimization capabilities.
- Scenario Studies: In addition to developing LEAP and supporting LEAP users, we also apply LEAP in a wide variety of energy scenario studies. Most recently we have completed two major studies examining the potential for climate change mitigation in China and the European Union. In 2010, we are working with our home state of Massachusetts to help it develop a plan for achieving 80% cuts in greenhouse gases by 2050.
- Capacity and Community Building: SEI is the founder and manager of COMMEND (COMMunity for ENergy environment & Development) an international initiative designed to foster a community among energy analysts working on energy for sustainable development. A premise of COMMEND is that institutional and human capacity for energy and environmental analysis is in acutely short supply, and that Southern analysts are isolated from their colleagues in other institutions and from sources of institutional support in both the North and South. In short, COMMEND aims to meet the pressing need for initiatives that can professionalize sustainable energy analysis in the South and increase its role in decision-making.