The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created an energy analysis tool to help individuals and educators experiment with energy use scenarios.
The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, Electricity, and Transportation Scenarios (BITES) allows users to explore how changes in energy supply and demand can impact carbon dioxide emissions and the current US energy trajectory. Users can imagine ‘what-if’ scenarios and adjust variables such as electricity generation and transportation fuel use to compare their outcomes to baseline cases.
The scenarios used in BITES were originally developed to examine strategic planning opportunities for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. DOE is interested in identifying research priorities where potential technical advances will have the greatest impact in achieving national energy goals. As the scenarios demonstrate, significant technology and policy deployment in every sector is required to meet US climate and energy security goals.
BITES was adapted for the Web so anyone can investigate possible scenarios, whether kept private or shared with the analysis community for discussion. Educators and students interested in energy and sustainability can use BITES to help teach the combined impacts of research, policy, or other forms of national action in energy. The BITES team has developed and piloted a college level workshop and is seeking interested educators to help further refine the curriculum.
BITES launches with several featured scenarios representing the findings of high-profile studies. One example focuses on the potential for high penetration of renewables in the electric sector based on the recent Renewable Electricity Futures study.