Policy Programs

Electricity Program

WhatWeDo_PowerSectorThe power grid is undergoing a rapid transformation: U.S. Congress is now investing hundreds of billions in the clean electricity transition through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This support combined with recent technological innovation has made a clean electricity grid profoundly cheaper than a dirty one.

Meanwhile the grid faces new challenges managing this change. After more than a decade of flat demand, transportation, industrial, and building electrification will drive new growth. Growing load and infrastructure challenges threaten grid reliability if electricity markets, utility planners, and their regulators cannot respond to the rapid changes hitting the sector. And climate change is making extreme weather more common, testing the resilience of critical infrastructure.

Policymakers face the difficult task of balancing three must-haves for the power sector: affordability, resilience, and environmental performance. It’s a tall order to get this right—and getting it wrong could hurt customers and decarbonization efforts.

Raising the stakes, electrification of transportation, buildings, and industry using a near-zero carbon electricity system is now the quickest and cheapest path to economy-wide deep decarbonization. These new sources of demand have the potential to lower costs for all consumers if done intelligently, or risk grid reliability if managed poorly.

The Electricity Program team at Energy Innovation works with national, regional, and state policymakers to develop policies that will manage the grid’s transition to a lower-emissions, affordable resource mix.

Read more about our Electricity Program work

Modeling and Analysis Program


Energy production and consumption are responsible for an enormous share of the global economy and greenhouse gas emissions. We spend trillions globally every year building new energy infrastructure and on energy consuming equipment, much of which lasts for decades.

Well-designed and well-implemented energy policy can improve energy security and minimize emissions at no additional cost (or even net savings) to the economy. Done wrong, energy policy can waste billions of dollars and lock in dirty, inefficient systems for decades. But knowing which policies work effectively and which don’t is tricky business.

The modeling and analysis program works to identify which policies work best in different regions, how to design those policies, and the emissions, economic, and health benefits of implementing them. At the core of this research is the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS), our free and open-source  computer model designed to estimate the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of hundreds of climate and energy policies.

The EPS relies on publicly available data sources and is thoroughly documented, ensuring users have full visibility into the key assumptions and approaches used to estimate policy impact. Versions of the EPS exist for the U.S. as a whole and each of the lower 48 states. We have partnered with a handful of international organizations and government agencies to develop models for CanadaChina (national and subnational)IndiaIndonesiaMexicoPoland, and Saudi Arabia, among others — with more to come. Together, these countries represent 55 percent of global emissions.

By using the EPS and other tools, the modeling and analysis program is able to provide timely policy insights to decision makers, think tanks, advocates, philanthropies and other energy and climate policy stakeholders.

Read more about our Modeling and Analysis work

Transportation Program

It’s an exciting time for transportation decarbonization. Consumers, manufacturers, and governments are coalescing around zero emission vehicles. Rapid transportation electrification’s potential is real, but the market will not transform fast enough to meet the climate challenge on its own.

Energy Innovation’s Transportation Program work mainly targets motor vehicle emissions, accounting for about 75 percent of all transport GHG emissions, an attractive policy target due to battery innovation. We help transportation policymakers identify and calibrate policies needed to remain below the 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold. We tout the advantages of learning curves, which explain how greater technology deployment leads to greater economies of scale and lower costs for consumers.

Our goal is to achieve 100 percent clean vehicle sales as quickly as possible (and no later than 2035 in leading markets), prioritizing policies governing the world’s largest new vehicle markets.

Read more about our Transportation work

China Program

Shanghai at night

China is the world’s largest emitter of climate pollution, responsible for more than a quarter of global emissions – if China doesn’t cut emissions, the whole world fails on climate change.

As China’s urbanization rate grew from 20 percent to 60 percent in 40 years, 1 million people moved to its cities every week. Considering that 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities, how they are built in China today will strongly affect the world’s low carbon future.

The China Program provides technical insights to help the country’s policymakers improve China’s climate policy and reduce emissions across the power, transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors. Our team has published policy recommendations on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, national emissions trading system, power system decarbonization plans, and sustainable urban design.

Energy Innovation has developed national and local China Energy Policy Simulator models to help identify the policies that can most efficiently reduce greenhouse gases and other health-harming pollution in China, and has established sustainable urban design principles in the book: “Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China.” 

Read more about our China Program work

Industry Program

Industrial firms produce the materials and products we rely on every day, like steel, cement, paper, and plastics. They’re a key part of the economy that provides millions of well-paying jobs, but industry is also responsible for one third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. If we don’t cut carbon pollution from industry, we don’t solve climate change. And companies that don’t adapt will fall behind in the global marketplace.

Our Industry Program work focuses on promising technologies and well-designed policy that enable a zero-carbon industrial sector globally. Three industries – iron and steel, chemicals and plastics, and cement – produce roughly 60 percent of industrial emissions, and the top ten industries generate 90 percent of industrial emissions, so focusing on these industries drives results.

Energy Innovation provides best-in-class advice to policymakers, regulators, and industry on the most efficient and cost-effective technologies that can reduce industrial emissions to zero and policies to accelerate their deployment. We also identify recommendations compatible with equity and economic development goals, which are crucial for worldwide adoption.

Read more about our Industry Program work

Electrification Program

Electrification refers to replacing technologies that run on fossil fuels with viable alternatives that run on clean electricity, like electric vehicles, heat pumps for space and water heat, and induction stoves. As we accelerate efforts to deploy more clean energy, the strategic electrification of our buildings, vehicles, and many industrial machines will shift these end-uses to run on clean electricity, thereby reducing climate emissions across all sectors of our economy. Integrating widespread electrification into grid planning and operations can also boost power system reliability and optimize the full benefits of cleaner technologies. But, policy leadership is needed to ensure an equitable and affordable transition to an electrified future.

Energy Innovation’s Electrification Team provides original research and analysis to federal, state, and local policymakers and utility regulators to support informed decision-making around the electrification of transportation, buildings, and industry. Our podcast Electrify This! features electrification experts around the world exploring the policy and market issues surrounding electrification.

Read more about our Electrification Program work

Our research is accessible under the CC BY license. Users are free to copy, distribute, transform, and build upon the material as long as they credit Energy Innovation for the original creation and indicate if changes were made.