Analyzing energy systems and technologies and the related economic and environmental impacts

The RTI Center for Applied Economics and Strategy (CAES) develops and implements a range of economy-wide models to study energy problems; these models range from linear input-output models (to estimate regional economic impacts) to intertemporally dynamic global computable general equilibrium models.

Economy-Wide Energy Modeling

Economy-wide models are powerful tools in assessing the economic and environmental impacts of changes in resource abundance, technology, and policy. For example, we study the impact of

  • Oil prices on the adoption of new transportation technologies
  • Environmental policy on the distribution of economic and health benefits
  • Climate policy on the value of fossil fuel infrastructure.
  • The scale and scope of energy markets and environmental policy in these types of analyses require economy-wide models that can trace the rich network of linkages among consumer, producer, and government decisions through our economy’s many markets.


Energy Efficiency

RTI International’s work in energy efficiency ranges from assessing the economic impact of government research and development for advanced technologies to offering demand-side management (DSM) support for electric utilities. RTI conducts retrospective and prospective evaluations of energy efficiency investments for clients such as the U.S. Department of Energy/EEL, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and state governments.

We provide a full range of DSM services—including standing up DSM departments, developing DSM strategies and programs, and implementing and evaluating DSM initiatives—to electric utilities around the world. RTI’s DSM Portal integrates web-based tools and secure DSM warehouse databases to support DSM program design and implementation; our efforts facilitate the broad spectrum of DSM-related services that our clients desire.

Electricity Sector

RTI’s team of economists and data scientists simulate electricity generation, pollution, and prices from the United States and global electricity grids to assess energy and environmental policies. Our team has deep expertise in the data resources required to fully characterize the engineering configurations, emissions attributes, and different costs of generating units on the electricity grid. We draw on this information to develop and apply economic simulation models that support policy makers in understanding the economic and environmental consequences of pollution control efforts and technological change.

For example, we developed the Micro-level Economic and Environmental Detail of Electricity (MEEDE) dataset and integrated it into our RTI Macroeconomic Analysis System (ARTIMAS™) economy-wide model. The RTI Applied Dynamic Analysis of the Global Economy (ADAGE™) economy-wide model also carries technology-rich representations of electricity generation and capital stocks.

Our team also has experience working with sector-specific models such as our Electricity Markets Analysis tool and the open-source Regional Energy Deployment System model from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We have linked our economy-wide models with the previously mentioned sector-specific models to simulate richer interactions between the technologically detailed power sector and the broader economy.

Alternative Fuels Analysis

We perform technical analyses of potential vehicle technology, explore alternative renewable and alternative fuel pathways, and study transportation demand options for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector. CAES is directly involved with enhancing models of the agricultural, forest, and land-use sectors and linking those models to energy and macroeconomic models. Our team also identifies and evaluates various policy options to promote these technology, fuel, and transportation demand pathways.

RTI is conducting analyses in support of Renewable Fuel Standard since 2008. CAES, in collaboration with various academic and research institutions, provides agricultural and forestry sector modeling support to analyze the impacts of large-scale biofuel production on U.S. agriculture, forestry, and land use.