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Data input

Your model will use data to hopefully generate interesting findings. Hannes Weigt shows you ways to construct the data you need.

Getting the data needed to run a numerical model is oftentimes the most frustrating part of the whole modeling process, simply for the fact that data is hard to get and seldom in the direct format you need for your model. To help you reduce the time spent on searching data we provide a Google Form where you can submit your links and share them publicly via Google Docs.

Even if you cannot find the desired data you may still be able to generate reasonable estimates. Always think about the underlying technical or natural structures that define the numbers you would need; i.e. there are often no plant specific generation costs available, but using fuel prices and plant efficiencies you can generate a close proxy. Similar, economic mechanics can help you to construct the data you need, just as we discussed in the demand function example of the tutorial.

After getting the data, another step you may want to consider is a simple descriptive analysis of this data. Can you see shifts in the hourly demand of the last years? Is there some underlying price trend in your fuel costs? Does the spatial distribution of pollution give you an insight on non-observable pollution sources? Your model will use this data to hopefully generate interesting findings, but sometimes the data itself already provides some findings that may motivate you to add or change elements of your model.

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Exploring Possible Futures: Modeling in Environmental and Energy Economics

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