Keywords: resource planning, knowledge infrastructure, climate change
Ensuring future energy alternatives: the role of resource planning in forming long-range energy and environmental policies
Many of the energy and environmental issues facing the world can be characterised as a combination of 1) complex problems, 2) dispersed solutions, and 3) finite resources. Identifying and implementing rationale and environmentally responsible energy strategies under these conditions requires considerable co-ordination among policy-makers, technology developers, energy service providers and the public at large. At present, industrialised and developing economies are not technologically up to the challenge of substantially reducing CO2 emissions. As the case study from the New England electric sector shows, many more cost-effective options need to be developed and deployed in order to significantly reduce CO2 and other environmental emissions. With liberalisation of the energy sectors in most economies progressing rapidly, the ability to identify and implement effective, coordinated, and integrated policies is becoming very difficult. The New England case study presented here represents one approach where resource planning tools have been used to inform energy sector stakeholders of the alternatives and trade-offs between different energy, economic and environmental policies. Use of such tools to develop a knowledge infrastructure of feasible future energy alternatives is essential if policy-makers are required to truly implement cost-effective and environmentally responsible energy strategies.