About Our Organization
The U.S. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project provides governments, agencies and stake holders with the concrete data, reports and analysis they need to development the goals, policies, and regulations required to achieve economy-wide deep decarbonization. Using EnergyPATHWAYS, our own state-of-the-art modelling software, USDDPP develops reliable, sector-by-sector, year-by-year energy system roadmaps — known as Deep Decarbonization Pathways — for cities, states, regions and the nation that meet the dual goals of reducing emissions 80% by 2050 and promoting a thriving economy. We are a non-partisan, non-political organization that believes independence and transparency are fundamental requirements for building a consensus around decarbonization strategies. Our organization is driven by data and science, and our modelling software, databases, methods and assumptions are 100% open-source and open to independent versification. USDDPP work currently supports decarbonization efforts in California, Washington, and New York.
The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project is not aligned with any special interest other than good science. The USDDPP 2015 PATHWAYS Report was creating using transparent and readily verifiable modeling software, and our data, assumptions and methods are completely open.
Also, we think it is important to note that our report highlights four different workable scenarios that include, among other things, the potential for high reliance on nuclear energy and/or a high reliance on renewable energy. The important point to note is that different scenarios do exist, and we believe that the time has come for society to start the process of discussing the trade-offs using accurate, verifiable and understandable data. We believe that this is the best way of moving forward to a societal consensus.
In addition to the USDDPP national reports, EnergyPATHWAYS analysis is playing a key role in decarbonization working being done in California, New York and Washington state, and at national laboratories, public utilities, NGOs, and private corporations.
Further, USDDPP has extended the EnergyPATHWAYS modelling tool to support national decarbonization efforts by other countries, and a the multi-national level, where reports from multiple, contiguous countries are nested into a single synthesis report.
About Our Motivation & Approach
Deep decarbonization describes the qualitative transformation of contemporary western energy economies necessary to achieve emissions reductions sufficient to limit man-made global warming to 2ºC or less by 2050. Deep decarbonization is operationalized through “backcasting,” an approach that starts with a scientifically-based objective (e.g., an 80 x 50 target) and works backward to understand the sequence of physical changes required to achieve it (see What is a Deep Decarbonization Pathway? below). This entails bottom-up assessments of infrastructure and technology needs over time, across all sectors of the energy economy, at a level of detail sufficient to move policy beyond the setting of aspirational targets toward grappling with the concrete challenges of implementation.
A Deep Decarbonization Pathway (DDP) is term that describes a non-exclusive energy and economic transition scenario that meets a specific geography’s deep decarbonization target, typically an 80-95% reduction in annual carbon emissions by 2050 from the baseline 1990 level (see What is “Deep Decarbonization”? above).
USDDPP has created, and continues to update and explore, at least four DDPs at the national level, each of which emphasizes different investments, technologies and societal decisions. At the local, state or regional level, regulators, agencies and local stakeholders work together to create geographic-specific strategies that support the national target and are consistent with one or more viable national DPPs.
Each DDP must be based transparently on practical and realistic assumptions openly available for inspection and critique, and on viable technologies that either exist or can be reasonably assumed to exist in the appropriate time scale.
Our analysis shows that we can transform our energy production and consumption systems to achieve by 2050 the very low emissions levels that climate science requires at a cost of about 1% of GDP, plus or minus 1%. It will not necessary be free — and it will not be easy — but our analysis demonstrates that it can be done, and can be done affordably. It is also important to note that our research supports the notion that the energy transition will reward industries and countries who invest in clean energy and become market leaders.
About Our Model
EnergyPATHWAYS is the modeling tool the U.S.DDPP developed to create its landmark national decarbonization reports, and to support city, state and regional decarbonization efforts. The tool set was originally developed as part the California Public Utilities Commission work on limiting carbon emissions. Since that time, it has been improved and generalized to work on a multi-national, national, regional, state or local level, it has been expanded to support researchers in other countries, and it has been turned into an open-source project.
Today, EnergyPATHWAYS is being used by other groups in the U.S., including NGOs, research institutions and public utilities and regulating agencies, and we expect other countries to begin to use it for their own national decarbonization reports.
U.S. DDPP will continue to develop and enhance the EnergyPATHWAYS platform and to use EnergyPATHWAYs on future reports at all geographical levels.
There are two ways to access the EnergyPATHWAYS tool and data sets:
The web-based version of EnergyPATHWAYS is intended for energy analysts at agencies, NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders in the decarbonization process. The tool set is accessed using a web browser, and it enables the user to design and run multiple “what if” scenarios for various energy production and consumption and emissions.
The server-based version of EnergyPATHWAYS is intended for experienced energy system modelers and analysts working at national decarbonization teams, national laboratories, and consulting firms serving regulators and energy system participants, as well as for software developers looking to expand and improve the tool set.
The EnergyPATHWAYS platform is available in two formats: as a server-based application targeted at energy researchers and developers that can be download and run on your systems, and as a web-based application targeted at energy analysts and policy planners at government agencies, NGOs and businesses that can be accessed using a standard Internet browser.
Both versions are available as open-source projects, and they can be accessed by requesting permissions from us (see Contact info below).