Computational Models for Renewable Energy Target Achievement & Policy Analysis
To date, over 84% of countries worldwide have renewable energy targets (RET), requiring that a certain amount of electricity be produced from renewable sources by a target date. Despite the worldwide prevalence of these policies, little research has been conducted on ex-ante RET policy analysis. In an effort to move toward evidence-based policymaking, this thesis develops computational models to assess the tradeoffs associated with alternatives for both RET achievement and RET policy formulation, including the option of creating renewable energy credit (REC) markets to facilitate meeting an RET goal. A mixed integer linear program (MILP), a probabilistic cost prediction model and a mixed complementarity problem (MCP) serve as the theoretical bases for the RET alternative and policy formulation analyses. From these models it was found, inter alia, that RET goals set too low run the risk of creating technological lock-in and could inhibit achievement of higher goals; probabilistic cost predictions give decision-makers essential risk information, when cost estimation is an integral part of alternatives assessment; and though REC markets may facilitate RET achievement, including REC markets in an RET policy formulation may not result in the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).