The Role of Energy Models: Characterizing the Uncertainty of the Future Electricity System to Design More Efficient and Effective Laws and Regulations

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When designing environmental protection and energy regulation policies legislators and regulators rely upon the results of computer models that purport to forecast future conditions such as energy supply demand available technologies and market characteristics In a perfect world these energy models would prove to be reliable and would in turn yield projections that would enable legislators and regulators to confidently enact regulations that advance societal energy and environmental goals Unfortunately it is impossible to predict or forecast with confidence all the variables that influence regulation and the effects of any regulatory choice In this Article we suggest that principles of dynamic law can be used as guidance to design policy that is coherent with the highly uncertain context in which it operates We explore the idea that the uncertainty surrounding the outcomes of a regulation can be taken into account and made part of the regulatory design In so doing we suggest that regulations can tackle uncertainty using the same methods by which the energy modeling community attempts to understand and bound uncertainty The diverse set of projected regulatory effects produced by different models under different assumptions reveals risks and opportunities The risk of ineffective regulation and unintended consequences and the opportunity of making ÔÇ£dynamic regulationsÔÇØ that change with the pace of new information

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