The Environment and Energy Policy concentration at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy positions graduates for leadership careers that address sustainable energy challenges in various areas of professional life, including government agencies, universities, not-for-profits, and industry. The Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory (CEPL) supports this effort by conducting research on clean energy financing, information and regulatory policies; energy policy and technology trends in the U.S. South; transformation to a smart grid; and the evolution of distributed resources including energy efficiency, demand response, and solar photovoltaics. We are involved in studies of climate mitigation under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and our policy interests span the triad of mitigation, adaptation, and geo-engineering, and we look at equity, employment, other impacts of policy interventions.
Multidisciplinarity, quantitative rigor, and strong conceptual frameworks underpin CEPL’s approach to policy analysis. Econometric models are employed to evaluate the impacts of existing programs. Climate change and energy policies are evaluated using a unique ensemble of modeling tools including the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), hybrid NEMS-Input/Output approaches, Monte Carlo methods to characterize uncertainties, and GT-DSM and GT-Solar cost-benefit calculators for evaluating utility energy efficiency and solar programs. Together, these models are used to forecast the speed and market penetration of new and improved energy technologies and the ability of possible future policies to accelerate the adoption of clean energy technologies and practices.
Examples of CEPL policy analyses include:
- Identifying the most promising carbon drawdown opportunities for Georgia
- Examining strategic behavior by firms, governments, and non-profits around LEED certification thresholds
- Demonstrating peer and spillover effects in HVAC investment decisions across homeowners
- Evaluating drivers of energy efficiency investments by homeowners, governments, firms, and non-profits
- Evaluating methods to improve information availability and reduce carbon emissions in the private sector
- Examining major barriers, drivers, and experiences to smart grid deployment across the globe
- Analyzing energy market impacts and macroeconomic dynamics driven by clean energy policies.
CEPL uses empirical analysis embedded in socio-economic theory to characterize and forecast the market penetration of clean energy technologies and the ability of possible future policies to accelerate technology adoption. CEPL operates two server computers installed in a limited-access facility in Georgia Tech's Rich Building. Both are eight-core Intel Xeon systems with 64GiB RAM. One runs Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and is primarily a platform supporting our instance of the EIA's National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). The other runs Gentoo Linux and supports general computational and data manipulation tasks for all CEPL activities. Applications installed on this system include R, graphics and image editors, and the LibreOffice suite and programming in C, C++, Python, and Fortran are fully supported.