Group for Research in Decision Analysis

Energy Systems Analysis with the Canadian Energy Systems Simulator (CanESS)

Michael Hoffman

CanESS is a decision support simulation model that enables exploration of the Canadian energy system through scenarios. CanESS comprises hierarchical processes or transformations whose dynamic interactions change the state of the energy system over time. The processes modelled in CanESS represent both physical transformations and information or decision-based transformations.

whatIf? Technologies Inc. designed CanESS to be an open systems model in which the user gains insights into the Canadian energy system through interacting with the model framework. A user can vary the input variables, observe the effect on the simulated system behaviour and then adjust the inputs based on these observations.

The parameters within CanESS correspond to meaningful concepts that can be experienced or observed. In this way, CanESS maintains transparency, which allows a user to understand the underlying structure of the model. CanESS is calibrated from 1978 to 2010 and projects 100 years into the future.

CanESS has been used quantify impact of large scale deployment of marine energy technologies (tidal, wave, in-river current) in five jurisdictions for the Canmet Materials Lab at Natural Resources Canada. Other studies include an assessment of how Ontario’s electricity generation technology composition affects consumer electricity prices for the Pembina Institute and an evaluation of the potential for energy efficiency improvements to modify overall energy demand and reduce emissions in Alberta for the Alberta Department of Energy.