go to top scroll for more

Business As Unusual: Existing Policies in Energy Model Baselines

Citation Strachan, N. Business As Unusual: Existing Policies in Energy Model Baselines. 2011. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2010.10.009.
Cite this using DataCite
Author(s) Strachan, N.
Opus Title Energy Economics
Pages 153-160
Volume 33
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2010.10.009

Baselines are generally accepted as a key input assumption in long-term energy modelling, but energy models have traditionally been poor on identifying baselines assumptions. Notably, transparency on the current policy content of model baselines is now especially critical as long-term climate mitigation policies have been underway for a number of years. This paper argues that the range of existing energy and emissions policies are an integral part of any long-term baseline, and hence already represent a with-policy baseline, termed here aBusiness-as-Unusual(BAuU). Crucially, existing energy policies are not a sunk effort; as impacts of existing policy initiatives are targeted at future years, they may be revised through iterative policy making, and their quantitative effectiveness requires ex-post verification. To assess the long-term role of existing policies in energy modelling, currently identified UK policies are explicitly stripped out of the UK MARKAL Elastic Demand (MED) optimisation energy system model, to generate a BAuU (with-policy) and a REF (without policy) baseline. In terms of long-term mitigation costs, policy-baseline assumptions are comparable to another key exogenous modelling assumption that of global fossil fuel prices. Therefore, best practice in energy modelling would be to have both a no-policy reference baseline, and a current policy reference baseline (BAuU). At a minimum, energy modelling studies should have a transparent assessment of the current policy contained within the baseline. Clearly identifying and comparing policy-baseline assumptions are required for cost effective and objective policy making, otherwise energy models will underestimate the true cost of long-term emissions reductions.