The Technology, Energy, Economy, and Environment (TEEE) Chain: Integrated Modeling for Technology Transition in Energy Rich Regions

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

 

Hodjat Ghadimi

Hodjat Ghadimi

Hodjat Ghadimi (PI)
Design and Landscape Architecture
West Virginia University

Randall W. Jackson

Randall W. Jackson

Randall W. Jackson
Regional Research Institute
West Virginia University

J. Wesley Burnett

J. Wesley Burnett

J. Wesley Burnett
Resource Management
West Virginia University

Jerald J. Fletcher

Jerald J. Fletcher

Jerald Fletcher
Resource Management
West Virginia University

Project Summary:

The transition to a sustainable clean energy future is one of the greatest challenges of this new century. Major economies are competing to dominate the emerging energy economy and government, regardless of their position on the plan-market spectrum, play a critical and distinctive role in driving technology development and adoption. In an increasingly interdependent world, the technology-energy-environment-economy (TEEE) interplay has profound implications for the world economy and presents very distinct analytical challenges both to engineers and social scientists. A thorough understanding of this complex system is vital for sustainable development at regional, national and global levels, and there is an urgent need for a comprehensive integrated framework for analyzing such engineering-economic systems. The proposed TEEE framework analyzes technology, energy, environment, and the economy in two important energy rich regions (ERRs) – West Virginia and Shanzi Province, China – and provides a comprehensive set of analytical tools for understanding the national and global consequences of interactions among these complex systems. This research will establish an engineering-based economic framework for an integrated analysis of the TEEE system by a multidisciplinary research team.

The long-term goal is to provide and enhance the knowledge base upon which fully informed technology-based policy planning and decision-support systems should be based. The specific objectives of the proposed project are (1) to develop the existing engineering-based micro-level structural decomposition analysis (SDA) and input-output process model (IOPM) along with the macro-level optimal depletion computable general equilibrium (CGE) model into a unified and comprehensive framework to analyze the TEEE chain; (2) to calibrate the model for two ERRs and simulate a range of technology-energy-environment-economy policy scenarios in these regions, each case representing a quite distinctive economic structure; (3) to conduct two regional online surveys of key stakeholders and use a non-market valuation method (i.e., a choice experiment) to assess the broader economic and environmental implications of transitioning to a diversified and clean energy economy in these energy rich regions; and (4) to identify critical characteristics for generalizing the integrated model to make it applicable in other ERRs.

Intellectual Merit:

The development and implementation of the basic modeling framework is the first critical step toward illuminating the complex interactions and tradeoffs among TEEE chain components. The model developed will be the first of its kind applied at a regional level providing a systematic framework to compare two distinct to compare two distinct national economic structures and policy making mechanisms. The decisions made under these two major economies – the US and China – have profound global implications for energy and the environment. The formulation, refinement, and implementation of the model will not only provide new theoretical insights, but also will form the foundation for decision and planning-support systems used by engineers, economists, and policy analysts. Project investigators all have had extensive domestic and international economic modeling experience and have worked closely for many years with chemical, transportation, and other engineers. Their areas of expertise, emphasizing CGE and input-out modeling including recent research linking life-cycle assessment (LCA) to input-output frameworks are ideal complements for this project.

Broader Impacts

The broader impacts of this research include the integration of research and education: implementation of the model will involve the participation of graduate research assistants, and descriptions and demonstrations of the model will be offered to interested and cognate disciplines as teaching modules in a range of multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate level courses. The results of the projects will be disseminated broadly via working papers, publications in professional journals, and presentations at professional meetings. Theoretical insights and specific application results will benefit society at large by deepening our scientific and engineering knowledge of complex interactions among human and physical systems, and we anticipate that the proposed research will help a multidisciplinary set of analysts and decision makers at energy and other agencies, including universities, use an integrative knowledge network of information in this 21st Century.