Early global economic models such as RICE and DICE included only a single economic sector for each region in the economy. These relatively simple models spurred interest in the capabilities of these types of models. This stimulated interest in the policy community for global economic models with continuously increasing in sectoral detail, a relative strength of computable general equilibrium (CGE). Adding sector-level detail is relatively straightforward in this class of modeling. As such, CGE-based models are ubiquitous in the study of global policy issues; 12 of the 18 economic models in the Energy Modeling Forum 27 are CGE-based.
Naturally, the increasing demand for sector-level detail extends to the electricity sector. The electricity sector is responsible for 40% of carbon emissions in the US and 30% globally. As such, the electricity sector is a relevant target for carbon mitigation. For example, in the US the Clean Power Plan offers several pathways which are highly specific to the generating technologies (e.g. subsidies for renewables only).
Because the undertaking is both data and labor-intensive, the data and construction methods have been ad hoc and terribly costly in terms of time. This problem was the same problem that gave rise to the GTAP database almost two decades ago. There was a need to engage the community to consolidate the available data and use a well-suited construction methodology to provide a common starting point for electricity-related CGE analysis and platform for continuous improvement.
With the support of a consortium of GTAP board members made up of the European Commission Institute for Prospective Technology Studies, MIT Joint Program, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), GTAP-Power was created.
GTAP-Power is an electricity-detailed extension database that accompanies the latest GTAP version 9 database release. The new sectors which replace the former aggregate electricity sector include: transmission and distribution, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other power generation technologies. Oil, gas, and hydroelectric are also differentiated into “base” and “peak” load types.
Both the data and the construction methodology are documented on the website. The raw data and software will be posted in the next several months. The open policy will encourage continuous improvement of the raw data and assumptions in the data construction process.
I’m looking forward to using the database for my own research and can’t wait to see how other folks will use it!