Energy Policy Simulator (Vensim Multi-Context) Now Online

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Energy Policy Simulator (Vensim Multi-Context) Now Online

Post by jrissman » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:30 pm

Hello Vensim Community,

I thought I would post to let you know that we released our "Energy Policy Simulator" on Tuesday. You can check it out at

The goal of the Energy Policy Solutions project is to help policymakers find ways to cost-effectively reduce pollution and modernize our energy system. The centerpiece is the "Energy Policy Simulator," a Vensim-based System Dynamics model that allows the user to specify settings for over 50 energy and environmental policies and estimates the combined impacts of these policies on emissions of 12 different pollutants and on various financial metrics.

You can access the model through a web interface we created, or to take advantage of more powerful analysis features (such as scripting for batch runs, Monte Carlo sensitivity analyses, customizing policy implementation schedules, etc.), you can download the model and run it locally on your computer. We've released the model open-source (under GNU GPLv3), and it's loaded with publicly available, carefully-cited data.

The web interface is a custom Ruby application that interfaces with the Vensim Multi-Context 64-bit Linux Shared Object. It allows users to log in, save personal scenarios, graph numerous outputs (comparing multiple scenarios), and share scenarios with friends or colleagues. I think this web application is a terrific example of what can be achieved by using the multi-context Linux version of Vensim. If you are considering ways to put your model online, you should really test out the Energy Policy Simulator via the web interface (especially if your model is on the larger side and/or uses some of Vensim's more unique functions, such as ALLOCATE AVAILABLE, as it is harder to convert these sorts of models to raw Python or JavaScript code).

A short intro video I made that explains how to use the Energy Policy Simulator through the web interface can be found at

I hope this project may benefit the Vensim community in two ways. First, you can all download a copy of the model, see how it works in Vensim, and use it yourselves (subject to the terms of the GNU GPLv3 license). Second, the custom web interface may provide ideas for how to get your own models online and what a simplified but powerful web-based UI might look like. I think putting models online, where people can use them without installing any software, is crucial for impact and influence. Our web application interface was developed by Todd Fincannon (

Lastly, I want to thank Ventana Systems for making and maintaining Vensim (including the Linux, multi-context version). Vensim was an absolutely crucial tool for us in this project.

Jeff Rissman

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