Mar./2012
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Science for Energy Policy: R&D on Engineering-Economy Models/CRDS-FY2011-SP-07
Executive Summary

Engineering-economy model for energy policy is a methodology for quantifying the interaction between energy technologies and economic activities. The final aims of this model are to provide evidences based on science for energy policy and to give energy management strategies in industries. On the other hand, this report focuses on the importance of governmental support for the R&D on engineering-economy model as a basic research. Two major approaches exist for energy modeling, i.e. deductive bottom up approach and inductive top down approach. Integration of these two approaches will be the essential research target of this program. In addition, further supports for this scientific community are required.

In order to overcome global issues, e.g. resource exhaustion and global warming, and to achieve sustainable society, it is indispensable to possess a firm energy policy. In addition, research and development of energy technologies should be in accordance with this strategy. Contribution to the total energy issues must be quantitatively evaluated, and technology roadmap based on scientific evidence must be developed. Engineering-economy model must be developed and improved to provide quantitative evidences for those discussions in an autonomous community.

The issues mentioned above lie at the boundary between engineering and economy, and the present engineering-economy model remains at an immature stage as an academic field because of a lack of interactions between the two disciplines. Thus, it would be difficult to promote it by competitive funding schemes. A neutral multidisciplinary and open research environment to conduct related basic research must be established. A possible pathway would be to fund and support continuously interdisciplinary research activity developed at a research base or an academic society. To do this, it is mandatory that both policy makers and scientists should respect their roles each other and define their codes of conduct in order to establish a healthy relationship. Only with these, it can be expected that a new multi-disciplinary academic field will be established and energy policy making can be justified.

It is essential to cultivate young scientists in this society. Thus, active support for human resources development is also a critical issue. In addition, more efforts to develop career passes for young scientists are also required. Not only academic posts, but employments in local governments and industries should be considered as new possibilities.

Research for engineering-economy modeling is an activity for quantifying the interactions between technologies and economic activities, and is related to all social activities. Thus, the achievements of the present strategic program can be applied not only to energy policies but also to very wide fields. Its impacts on the industry and the society will be enormous.