GPI researchers, University of Minnesota create Energy Choice Simulator to study impacts of policy options on the Midwestern economy, including renewable energy incentives, carbon tax, others

MINNEAPOLIS , May 25, 2010 (press release) – A new online tool allows users to design and analyze energy legislation.

Researchers at the Great Plains Institute (GPI) and the University of Minnesota have created an online tool to “test drive” energy policies and study their effects on the region’s energy production, state government budgets, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Energy Choice Simulator (ECS) was developed to study the impacts of policy options on the Midwestern economy. ECS can model policy options that include incentives for renewable energy and carbon capture, low carbon fuel standards, cap and trade, a carbon tax, and moratoriums on polluting technologies.

“We think the Energy Choice Simulator will help shed light on critical energy policies being debated right now at the state, regional and federal levels,” said Steve Taff, a University of Minnesota economist who helped develop the model.

Researchers worked with experts in energy companies, utilities, regulatory agencies and nonprofit organizations to program the model with the most current economic and greenhouse gas information. “This model is the culmination of two years of work and builds upon GPI’s core competency of stakeholder facilitation,” said Dane McFarlane, GPI energy policy analyst and one of the researchers who developed the model. “We are excited to release it to the public and hope that it will spark informed dialogue about energy policy among regional leaders.”

The model’s online user interface is free and available to the public to construct scenarios, change data assumptions or perform new experiments. Users can also download a copy of the model file and edit individual data points themselves. Learn more about the model at

The Great Plains Institute developed Energy Choice Simulator in cooperation with the University of Minnesota and Forio Business Simulations

The Great Plains Institute ( is accelerating the transition to a renewable & low-carbon energy system through consensus policy, technology deployment, education and research.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.