At a Glance
The REPEAT Project is led by Jesse Jenkins of the Princeton ZERO Lab. It provides a detailed, “real-time” evaluation of the United States’ evolving energy and climate policies and the country’s progress on the road to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Project uses a novel suite of geospatiallygranular planning, modeling, and visualization tools coupled with macro-scale optimization models of the United States energy system. The goal is to publish regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they are proposed and enacted (See repeatproject.org).
The Biden Administration took office in January 2021 with a promise to pursue a “whole of government” approach to tackle climate change and cut emissions of greenhouse gases at least 50% below peak levels by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050.
Recognizing that the present moment constitutes the most significant opportunity for federal clean energy and climate policy in a decade, the Princeton Zero-Carbon Energy Systems Research and Optimization Laboratory (ZERO Lab), led by Jesse Jenkins (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment), launched a new project to provide regular, timely, and independent environmental and economic evaluation of federal energy and climate policies as they are proposed and enacted.
The REPEAT (Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit) Project is a unique, public-facing research effort that provides a detailed, “real-time” look at the United States’ evolving energy and climate policies and the country’s progress on the road to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The Princeton ZERO Lab leads the REPEAT Project in partnership with Evolved Energy Research and Erin Mayfield of Dartmouth College (formerly a CMI postdoctoral research associate). The Project developed a suite of geospatiallygranular planning, modeling, and visualization tools coupled with macro-scale optimization models of the United States energy system. The REPEAT team employs these novel tools to rapidly evaluate policy and regulatory proposals at state, county, and sometimes finer resolutions. These tools also provide politically salient analyses of the impacts of the nation’s changing energy infrastructure on air quality and public health, energy sector employment, household and business energy expenditures, and more. Results and publications are intended to provide independent, timely, and credible information and analysis for broad educational purposes, including as a resource for stakeholders, decisionmakers, and the media.
The REPEAT toolkit reflects further development and refinement of the models and methods used in the landmark Princeton Net-Zero America study, which “set an entirely new standard” in energy transition modeling by offering an “unprecedented degree of clarity and granularity” in its results, according to John Holdren, former Science Advisor to President Obama and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The influential report was widely covered in major media, and the spatially explicit and granular results and associated data and maps have proven to be highly relevant to a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers. The impact of the Net-Zero America project demonstrated an appetite for more politically salient outputs from energy systems models. It also inspired and motivated the REPEAT Project, which has successfully refined, updated, and automated these detailed methods to enable evaluation of federal policies at an unprecedented pace and level of detail.
Through modeling and analysis of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (a.k.a. the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill) and the Build Back Better Act published over the last six months, REPEAT Project has established itself as a critical resource that has helped shape policy negotiations, reporting, and public understanding of these major Congressional bills. Living up to its name, REPEAT Project published several timely analyses of each bill as they evolved, frequently publishing a new analysis within days or weeks of major milestones in progression of each piece of legislation through the Senate and House of Representatives. The Project’s website at repeatproject.org also provides a detailed data portal that allows anyone to explore a wide range of quantitative outcomes under each version of the policy and to compare outcomes under each policy to benchmark scenarios or other policies. This tool puts all the quantitative results from the Project at the disposal of decision makers, media, stakeholder groups, and the public.
The REPEAT Project website was accessed by over 5,000 unique visitors between October 2021 and March 2022, and the Project’s reports were downloaded over 1,600 times during this period. The Project’s analysis has also featured in 22 news stories to date, ranging from The New York Times and Washington Post to Nature, Axios, and The New Yorker.
With the Build Back Better Act stalled in the Senate, REPEAT Project is standing by to assess any Senate legislative vehicle that may emerge in the remainder of the 117th Congress. In addition, the Project will assess proposed regulations and other notable executive actions to assemble a more accurate picture of the impact of regulatory policy absent of or in conjunction with further legislation.
Finally, the ZERO Lab and REPEAT Project collaborators continue to develop novel methods for robust evaluation of energy infrastructure deployment and options. The aim is to manage trade-offs and maximize benefits across impacts on social equity, labor, air quality, land use, and other politically salient outcomes to provide improved decision support as the United States charts a course to a net-zero emissions future.