Improving the representation of energy efficiency in an energy system optimization model
Applied Energy, Vol 306, Part B, 2022.
Energy system optimization models (ESOMs) are designed to examine the potential effects of a proposed policy, but often represent energy-efficient technologies and policies in an overly simplified way. Most ESOMs include different end-use technologies with varying efficiencies and select technologies for deployment based solely on least-cost optimization, which drastically oversimplifies consumer decision-making. In this paper, we change the structure of an existing ESOM to model energy efficiency in way that is consistent with microeconomic theory. The resulting model considers the effectiveness of energy-efficient technologies in meeting energy service demands, and their potential to substitute electricity usage by conventional technologies. To test the revised model, we develop a simple hypothetical case and use it to analyze the welfare gain from an energy efficiency subsidy versus a carbon tax policy. In the simple test case, the maximum recovered welfare from an efficiency subsidy is less than 50% of the first-best carbon tax policy.