EMF Publications

EMF PP 6.1 The Energy Modeling Forum: Past, Present and Future

Planning Paper

James L. Sweeney - Stanford University
John P. Weyant - Stanford University

Published by
Stanford University and Energy Policy - The Global Challenge (Fall 1979), page(s): 292-320
Fall 1979


In recent years, especially since the oil embargo of 1973, there has been widespread development of energy models in the executive and legislative branches of government, universities, industry, research institutes, consulting companies, and commercial establishments. Unfortunately, our ability to utilize the models effectively for energy policy making and planning has not kept pace with this development. The gap between modellers and potential users of models is large and pervasive. Heightened concern about energy problems coupled with the proliferation of analytical tools for addressing these problems has created both the need and the opportunity for bridging the gap. Finding ways to improve communication between model developers and model users has become an active area of investigation and innovation (Greenberger, 1977).

The Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) study has been one response to this situation. The EMF seeks to improve the use and usefulness of energy models in the study of important energy issues. Sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and administered by the Stanford University Institute for Energy Studies (SUIES), the EMF within the Departments of Engineering-Economic Systems and Operations Research, operates through a series of ad hoc working groups, consisting of roughly equal numbers of energy modellers and potential energy model users. Each working group focuses on an issue or a set of closely related issues important to energy policy making or planning to which existing energy models ca be applied. The group designs, implements, interprets, and communicates a set of tests designed to illuminate the basic structure and behavior of the models. The issues addressed by the group thus provide a forum to compare and contrast the various models, identifying their capabilities and limitations. At the same time, the issue focus assures that policy relevant implications of the various models are developed and communicated.

This paper on the EMF is organized in six additional sections:
-A summary of the five EMF studies initiated to date.
-A description of the Energy Modeling Forum as it exists today (February 1979), its basic goals, organizational structure, and the conduct of its studies.
-The history and evolution of the EMF over the two and one-half years of its existence.
-Several new activities closely related to – and partly motivate by – the EMF, which are performing different and complementary functions.
-Issues fundamental to the evolution of the Forum.
-A summary and conclusion.