What We Do


Power Sector Transformation

WhatWeDo_PowerSector Tectonic shifts are rocking the power grid: Clean energy costs are plummeting. Technology is turning buildings into thermal batteries that can conserve power with the flip of a switch. New businesses are entering the power industry, shifting a historically monopolistic sector into a highly competitive age. A changing climate 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, reliability, and environmental performance. It’s a tall order to get this right—and getting it wrong gravely imperils the economy.

Energy Innovation works with national and regional decision makers to develop policies that will manage the grid’s transition to a cleaner, lower-carbon resource mix. Our largest project in this realm is America’s Power Plan.

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Energy Policy Solutions

WhatWeDo_EnergyPolicyEnergy is a mammoth portion of the global economy and the world spends trillions every year on energy and the capital equipment that generates or consumes it. Most energy infrastructure lasts for decades, making it crucial to get energy policy right.

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 to come.

Our free and open-source Energy Policy Simulator computer model uses government data to estimate the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of hundreds of climate and energy policies. We have developed a United States version of the simulator and has partnered with a handful of international organizations and government agencies to develop models for Canada (including a regional Alberta version), China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Poland, and Saudi Arabia — with more to come. Together, these countries represent 55 percent of global emissions .

The EPS identifies policies to achieve policymakers’ goals and recommend the most effective policies, as well as evaluate the impacts of policy or program announcements.

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California Climate Policy

Wilshire_Vermont_iStockPhoto (WhatWeDo)California has played a vital role in climate and energy policy for decades. From pioneering energy efficiency initiatives for buildings and appliances nearly half a century ago, to setting the first-in-the-nation tailpipe emissions standards for cars and one of the first statewide renewable electricity standards in 2002, to putting the state at the forefront of climate action with a commitment to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 with Assembly Bill (AB) 32 in 2006, California has helped lead America’s energy policy solutions for a low-carbon future.

While the broad outlines of California’s climate strategy are set, important design and implementation challenges remain, and the state needs to ramp up its rate of emissions reductions. Energy Innovation’s efforts to help the state successfully achieve its aggressive 2030 target includes original analysis, regulatory engagement, and communications outreach.

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Urban Sustainability

Shanghai at night More than 1 million people move to cities every week, so the shape of urban areas and their transportation networks strongly affects global energy use and carbon emissions.

Our urban sustainability work is focused on China, a rapidly urbanizing country which will have one billion urban residents by 2030. Our principal project is “Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China,” the first comprehensive manual detailing how to build a sustainable city from the ground up in China, laying out green building and sustainability practices for low-carbon city planning and construction in China and abroad. The manual’s 10 principles aim to establish green, healthy and economic vibrant cities, while solving pollution and livability challenges faced by China’s cities..

Emerald Cities builds upon the Green and Smart Urban Development Guidelines, which identify the most critical elements of urban form, transportation, and energy and resource management, and outline how advanced technologies can be used to optimize urban systems.

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