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About Energy Analysis

NETL conducts a variety of energy analyses to identify and evaluate promising research and development (R&D) opportunities in order to provide balanced solutions in support of economic sustainability, energy supply security, mitigation of global climate change, and improved environmental performance.

NETL-conducted studies require a multi-disciplinary approach to the assessment of large, complex energy systems encompassing energy production, distribution, and use. Strategic assessments and planning efforts also incorporate the evaluation of current status, near-term trends, and futuristic scenarios.

DC at Night



Technology analyses estimate and assess the performance and cost of current, state-of-the-art as well as future energy technologies and systems that result from successful NETL RD&D.  Example energy technologies and systems include advanced carbon capture technologies and systems that store captured carbon dioxide in deep geologic formations. The outputs from technology analyses are used to inform larger scale energy-economic models that place these technologies in context within the larger energy portfolio. The analyses also provide insights into the anticipated competitiveness of these technologies, as well as the potential economic, environmental, and energy security impacts and benefits that result from successful NETL RD&D under a variety of possible future scenarios.


Focuses on quantifying both prospective and retrospective benefits of energy R&D programs using economic models. These studies deliver an understanding of the potential economic competitiveness of advanced energy technologies being developed at NETL, both in the near term and over the next several decades.

The extent to which benefits are realized is a function of several factors, including:

  • Success at meeting R&D goals
  • Competition with other technologies
  • Future energy prices
  • Future regulatory actions

Since the future of markets and regulations is uncertain, alternative scenarios must be considered. NETL analysts use economic models to forecast the market penetration of advanced energy systems for a variety of possible futures. Impacts are evaluated and associated benefits quantified across three areas: economic, environmental, and energy security.


Studies involve analyzing the interdependencies of electric power systems with other critical infrastructures, such as transportation networks and water infrastructure. Analyses evaluate options for generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption of electricity considering the value of electric power to industry, consumers, and society.


Energy analyses include assessments of near- and long-term trends within the U.S. and world energy industries that may impact energy price, availability, and security while influencing the choice of fuels and energy production technologies.


Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a comprehensive form of analysis that utilizes the principles of Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, and various other methods to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social attributes of energy systems ranging from the extraction of raw materials from the ground to the use of the energy carrier to perform work (commonly referred to as the “life cycle” of a product). Results are used to inform research at NETL and evaluate energy options from a National perspective.