The U.S. Energy system has been the subject of intense national interest and policy debate over the past two decades. During that time the U.S. has experienced a steady trend toward increased oil imports, two major oil embargoes, oil price shocks, and a series of government policy initiatives designed to reduce its vulnerability to oil supply disruptions: Project Independence, the National Energy Plan, and more recently oil and gas price deregulation. Understanding the dynamics of the U.S. Energy system has been the focus of a decade-long System Dynamics modeling effort which began in 1972 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, continued at Dartmouth College, and is now centered at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The analytical focus of that effort is an integrated model of U.S. energy supply and demand called FOSSIL2, which is used to prepare projections for energy policy analysis in the Department of Energy's Office of Policy, Planning and Analysis. This paper describes the conceptual development of the FOSSIL2 model, and its use in analyzing national energy policy issues.
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