At EPRI Labs: Bill Gould


Director of Research and Development

PUF 2.0 - November 15, 2017

Electric Power Research Institute Director of Research and Development Bill Gould talks about the modeling and analysis efforts of EPRI's Efficient Electrification initiative.

PUF's Steve Mitnick: How do you figure into this efficient electrification initiative?

Bill Gould: My team is largely responsible for economy, energy and environmental modeling and analytics, at both national and state levels.

PUF's Steve Mitnick: The United States could appreciably increase the share of electricity as final energy, currently around twenty percent over the next few decades. You're modeling the effects on the environment, on energy costs, and on water costs?

Bill Gould: Yes, all the above. We don't prescribe a specific scenario. Our analyses are informed by a range of scenarios and associated assumptions, and our models apply the most economically efficient technologies based on those assumptions. Those can include fuel costs, potential policy implications or overlays, the development and implementation and market acceptance of end-use technologies, and the development and implementation of supply-side technologies. All those factors figure into the overall analysis. 

PUF's Steve Mitnick: How do you quantify and model all this?

Bill Gould: Our continually updated and improved U.S. Regional Economy, Greenhouse Gas and Energy (US-REGEN) model is revolutionary in many ways, because it looks at economy-wide energy implications.

Not just in the electric sector, but in one consistent and comprehensive framework that economically models outcomes.

Regardless of the specific policy or technology analyses being considered, the use of our REGEN model has provided far-reaching insights to help inform our member and stakeholder communities in many ways.

PUFs Steve Mitnick: Who will use the model and how will they use it?

Bill Gould: Most recently we've used it to inform our members, and their stakeholders. Those include policymakers who want to know the implications of the Clean Power Plan, for example. We've also used it in a range of other scenarios, including increasing deployment and use of renewable technologies.

One particular strength is the model's ability to provide detail at the state level.

PUF's Steve Mitnick: Assuming certain carbon reduction goals are in place, can you determine, for example, that we must electrify to a certain extent?

Bill Gould: It comes to the same end, but not necessarily by solving for a particular carbon goal. The model can do that, but if you back up a step and model, quantify, and aggregate the vast potential benefits of electrification for society and for customers, our analysis suggests it is an economically efficient strategy for emissions reductions. 

If you embed electrified end-uses that replace fossil end-uses into the economy, the value of those grows over time as you continue to decarbonize the electricity sector.

For example, every petroleum-based vehicle that comes into the economy is an emitter for its entire life, and its emissions probably increase over time. On the other hand, an electric vehicle brings more value over time.

Given the trajectory we're seeing for cleaner power production, an electric vehicle's overall emissions will decline over time. And our results demonstrate that the benefits go beyond GHG reduction, to include air quality benefits as well as cost-effective results for customers and society as a whole. This is all taken into account in the model capabilities.

We will see our modeling capabilities and methodology in action in our forthcoming National Assessment for Efficient Electrification, which will be released in the first quarter of 2018.