Mitigation and adaptation: a tool for assessing water-energy trade-offs

Submitted by Michael Rastall | published 4th Sep 2012 | last updated 13th Jan 2020
Please note: content is older than 5 years

LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning) is a powerful, versatile software system for integrated energy planning and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation assessment. It is used by government agencies, academics, non-governmental organizations, consultants, and utilities worldwide, and is becoming the de facto standard for countries undertaking GHG mitigation assessments and creating Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDs).

For example, LEAP is being used by Mexico to update its climate change mitigation plans, and countries such  as Argentina, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Lebanon and Pakistan have used it to help prepare their National Communications on Climate Change to the United Nations. LEAP is also an important tool in the EU-UNDP Low Emission Capacity Building Programme, and SEI used it to help build global climate and energy scenarios to 2050 for a major assessment presented at Rio+20.

A new release of SEI’s LEAP system, used by thousands of organizations in more than 190 countries, includes multiple performance enhancements, new features, and close integration with SEI’s Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) system.

Water-energy trade-offs are rapidly gaining attention around the world, and the 2012 version of LEAP for the first time makes it possible to explore these issues with powerful modeling tools. To achieve this, LEAP has been closely integrated with SEI’s water planning software, WEAP, which is also being upgraded to link to LEAP. The complete modelling suite was launched at World Water Week in Stockholm on 30 Aug 2012.

“Understanding energy and water connections is critical to the success of any efforts to expand energy access, increase renewable energy production, and address climate change”, says Dr. Charles Heaps, developer of LEAP and director of the SEI’s U.S. Center. “Integration with WEAP makes LEAP considerably more powerful; we hope our users will take advantage of these important new capabilities."

LEAP also includes several new features that make it significantly more powerful and easier to use:

• New capabilities include better modelling of seasonal, time-of-day and day-of-week variations in energy demands and supplies. For example, it is now much easier to model when wind or solar power is available and when households need power. LEAP’s charts and tables have also been improved to better display this type of information.

• Modelling of health and environmental impacts has been improved – making it easier to explore the implications of fully costing the impacts of alternative energy scenarios.

• Results can be aggregated in more ways, across regions and fuel types. For example, SEI’s recently global energy model built in LEAP includes 22 regions. Results can also be aggregated across 10, 6 or 3 macro regions.

• Several new modelling functions have been added allowing values or growth rates to be specified relative to the trends seen in other regions and scenarios.

• LEAP now has professional-grade charting capabilities, so charts not only look more beautiful, but can also be exported in high resolutions for direct use in professional reports. Chart management is also easier, and better data management functions make it easier to manage and share analyses among colleagues.