Non-biomass renewables - GCAM

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Model Documentation - GCAM

Corresponding documentation
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Model information
Model link
Institution Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute (PNNL, JGCRI), USA,
Solution concept General equilibrium (closed economy)GCAM solves all energy, water, and land markets simultaneously
Solution method Recursive dynamic solution method
Anticipation GCAM is a dynamic recursive model, meaning that decision-makers do not know the future when making a decision today. After it solves each period, the model then uses the resulting state of the world, including the consequences of decisions made in that period - such as resource depletion, capital stock retirements and installations, and changes to the landscape - and then moves to the next time step and performs the same exercise. For long-lived investments, decision-makers may account for future profit streams, but those estimates would be based on current prices. For some parts of the model, economic agents use prior experience to form expectations based on multi-period experiences.

GCAM’s non-biomass renewable resources include onshore wind, offshore wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. In contrast to the depletable resources, whose cumulative stocks are explicitly tracked, renewable resource quantities in GCAM are always indicated in terms of annual flows. Wind and solar are considered as options for producing electricity or hydrogen, while geothermal and hydropower are only considered as options for producing electricity. None of these resources are traded between regions.

In general, the costs of producing electricity from renewable energy forms consist of the sum of the resource costs described in the renewable resources section, the technology costs, and in some cases, backup-related costs. The latter two components to the costs are documented in the electricity section of the documentation.