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The Bureau of Land Management’s Modeling Choice for the Federal Coal Programmatic Review

There are multiple power sector models available to the Department of Interior (DOI)’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for analyzing the effect of current and alternative coal regulations and leasing policies during preparation of its programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS). This document lays out model selection criteria to assist BLM in weighing the benefits and costs of these available models. We first narrow our choice of power sector models for more detailed consideration, focusing on three key models: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s MarketSim; the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s National Energy Modeling System (NEMS); and ICF International’s Integrated Planning Model (IPM). We then develop and apply selection criteria to these models. We conclude with recommendations for model selection, highlighting the tradeoff between model complexity and transparency.