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LEAP (Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System)

LEAP (Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System)
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LEAP is an integrated modelling tool that can be used to track energy consumption, production and resource extraction in all sectors of an economy. It can be used to account for both energy sector and non-energy sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources and sinks. In addition to tracking GHGs, LEAP can also be used to analyse emissions of local and regional air pollutants, making it well-suited to studies of the climate co-benefits of local air pollution reduction.

Applicability

LEAP has developed a reputation among its users for presenting complex energy analysis concepts in a transparent and intuitive way. At the same time, LEAP is flexible enough for users with a wide range of expertise: from leading global experts who wish to design polices and demonstrate their benefits to decision makers to trainers who want to build capacity among young analysts who are embarking on the challenge of understanding the complexity of energy systems. In addition to its modelling capabilities, LEAP can now also be used as a tool for calculating, evaluating and displaying many social, economic, and energy-related development indicators.

Process of tool application

LEAP is intended as a medium to long-term modelling tool. Most of its calculations occur on an annual time-step, and the time horizon can extend for an unlimited number of years. LEAP is designed around the concept of long-range scenario analysis. Scenarios are self-consistent storylines of how an energy system might evolve over time. Using LEAP, policy analysts can create and then evaluate alternative scenarios by comparing their energy requirements, their social costs and benefits and their environmental impacts.

Benefits

A key benefit of LEAP is its low initial data requirements. Modelling tools that rely on optimization tend to have high initial data requirements because they require that all technologies are fully defined both in terms of both their operating characteristics and their costs. By contrast, because LEAP relies on simpler accounting principles, and because many aspects of LEAP are optional, its initial data requirements are thus relatively low.

Examples

LEAP has had a significant impact in shaping energy and environmental polices worldwide. For example: - In China, the Chinese Energy Research Institute (ERI) has used LEAP to explore how China could achieve its development goals whilst also reducing its carbon intensity. These studies have helped to influence national energy policies and plans.

  • In the U.S., a prominent Non-Governmental Organization, the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) uses LEAP to analyse national fuel economy standards and advocate for policies that encourage clean vehicles and fuels.
  • In Rhode Island, LEAP has been the main organizational tool for analysing and monitoring the State’s award-winning GHG mitigation process, in which multiple stakeholders are guiding the State’s efforts to meet its GHG emission reduction goals.
  • In the Philippines, LEAP is used by the Department of Energy to help develop its National Energy Plans.

References

  • Heaps, C.G., 2012. Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning (LEAP) system. [Software version 2012.0055] Stockholm Environment Institute. Somerville, MA, USA. www.energycommunity.org
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