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When integrated with a macroeconomic model, ENERGY 2020 becomes a powerful tool for estimating the impacts of energy policy on the economy as a whole.

What is ENERGY 2020?

ENERGY 2020 is an integrated energy model containing detailed energy-demand, energy-supply, and pollution-accounting sectors and is often coupled in dynamic feedback with regional macroeconomic models. Analyses can include any multiple aggregations of regions to include the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the ten Canadian provinces, and the three Canadian territories.

Over the last 30 years, its client list includes load forecasting, strategic planning, regulatory, and business-development departments, but it also includes prime ministers, presidents, ministers, governors, commissioners, regulatory directors, CEO’s and CFO’s. ENERGY 2020 has been used primarily in the US and Canada, but has also been used in several countries in Europe and South America.

To read more about ENERGY 2020, select Learn More below, or visit the Resources page to view documentation, presentations and publications.

Computer Office Work


ENERGY 2020 is a powerful analysis tool for simulating a wide variety of policies which impact the energy system across energy demand, energy supply, and emissions. Policies are designed to test impacts of changes made to the energy system in relation to a business-as-usual, or reference case, scenario. Examples of policies include building codes, efficiency standards and regulations, energy efficiency programs, incentives promoting fuel switching, addition or retirement of specific types of electric generating capacity (such as coal, nuclear, wind, solar), taxes on greenhouse gas emissions, and cap-and-trade programs.

The figures below provide a sample of the types of policies ENERGY 2020 is able to simulate across each of the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation demand sectors, electricity, oil, gas, biofuels, refineries, and coal supply sectors as well as emissions-related policies crossing both demand and supply sectors.

Aerial View of a Houses
New York Sea Port


- Building and appliance efficiency standards 
- Tax incentives
- Retrofit programs


- Equipment efficiency standards 
- Tax incentives and grant programs

Urban Traffic
Utility Pole


- Vehicle efficiency standards 
- Alternative fuels 
- Electric vehicles


- Renewable generating capacity 
- Interprovincial hydro transmission expansion
- Emission standards

On Site Gas Production
Air Vent


- Enhanced production efficiency 
- Sequestration of CO₂ 
- Emission reducing technologies


- GHG taxes
- Cap-and-trade programs 
- CAC caps and reduction curves


Policies are intended to influence how energy consumers or producers make decisions. Because ENERGY 2020 is a behavioral model, simulating the decision-making process of consumers and producers, it incorporates policies into the simulation at the same point where actual decisions would be made. For example, a policy such as a new residential building code is built explicitly into model equations determining efficiency levels (which is logically where actual decisions about the efficiency levels of new homes being built are made).

ENERGY 2020 simulates the energy and emission system in significant detail; therefore, policies are able to be simulated to the specific level of detail defined in actual policies (such as to specific regions, industries, end uses, technology, fuels, generating units, and pollutants). Without a detailed representation, simulating detailed policies would require scaling policy parameters up to an aggregated level. As an example, ENERGY 2020 is able to simulate the details of a policy specifically applied to heavy fuel oil cogeneration in Alberta’s fertilizer industry rather than requiring a scaled version of the policy applied to the entire chemical sector in Canada.

ENERGY 2020 executes on an annual basis allowing analysts to examine impacts for each year of the policy. Policy makers often are interested in the annual pattern of policy impacts in addition to its long term impact. For instance, the variability of a cap-and-trade price may be as significant an impact as the price in the final year. Another example would be in the development of renewable resources. Rapid development leads to higher emission reductions long term, but policy makers must determine if the rapid development is affordable and reasonable. Annual results allow users to review short term results and modify the policy if needed.