Energy Systems and Policy

An electric car plugged into a charging station while parked on a residential street.

An electric car plugged into a charging station while parked on a residential street.

Photo by anouchka / Getty Images

Energy plays a vital role in the success of the global economy, and obtaining and using energy can also impact the environment. RAND researchers in the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program help policymakers worldwide make informed decisions on meeting their nations' energy needs while mitigating long-term life cycle environmental risks.

Our research has focused on topics such as

Current and past clients include the U.S. Department of Energy, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL); the governments of Israel and Qatar; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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  • Two workers wearing hard hats on a solar farm with wind turbines in the background

    Decarbonizing Energy Systems

    Decarbonization will require action on multiple fronts – changes in alternative and renewable energy technologies, industrial innovation, new modes of mobility, and shifting consumer preferences. A solid foundation of evidence is needed to support decision-making among decarbonization options.

Alternative and Renewable Energy

  • Silhouette of business people work together in office. Concept of teamwork and partnership. double exposure with network effects, photo by alphaspirit/Adobe Stock

    Pathways to 2050: Scenarios for Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy

    Jun 4, 2019

    Climate change is among the most profound challenges of all time, and the private sector is an essential partner in any decarbonization pathway. Timely business leadership can help ensure choices that are beneficial for both companies and society as a whole.

  • An electric car being recharched

    Evaluation of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

    Sep 6, 2017

    A process and outcome evaluation of the California Energy Commission's (CEC's) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), relying on quantitative and qualitative methods.

  • IAEA experts at Fukushima

    Technological Lessons from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Accident

    Jun 1, 2016

    To improve responses to future radiological or nuclear contingencies, alum Sarah Evans (cohort '12) and professors Cynthia Dion-Schwartz, Scott Harold, and Lloyd Thrall draw lessons from the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. They analyze how technologies were used successfully to counter radioactive contamination and identify capability gaps that could be redressed through novel technologies or improved use of existing technologies.

  • Cooling towers of a nuclear power plant

    Overcoming Obstacles to Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technologies

    Aug 31, 2015

    If nuclear fission is to play a big role in the future of the U.S. energy supply, a more cost-effective type of nuclear power plant must be commercialized. But there are barriers to commercializing next-generation nuclear reactors. How can policymakers overcome them?

  • A man wearing a mask looks up as he walks on a street on a foggy day in Bozhou, China, January 30, 2013

    How Can China Reduce Its Air Pollution, and How Much Will It Cost?

    Jan 12, 2015

    Air pollution has been one of the most harmful consequences of China's last three decades of economic transformation and growth. China must address its air-pollution problem soon, but approaches to improve air quality come at a cost.

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    Policy Impacts on Wind and Solar Innovation

    Oct 16, 2013

    Predicting the effects of climate policies on energy use and the economy requires understanding how they will affect innovation. This study helps fill research gaps by using the number of relevant academic journal articles published per month as a proxy for innovation in wind and solar energy.

See All Publications on Alternative and Renewable Energy

Energy and National Security

See All Publications on Energy Security

Fossil Fuels and Carbon Capture Technologies

See All Publications on Fossil Fuels

Green Building