Model developed


Whatif? Technologies
Robert Hoffman, Bert McInnis


Canadian Energy Systems Simulator (CanESS) is a new breed of energy systems model.

It’s an integrated, multi-fuel, multi-sector model with detailed accounting for the sources and uses of energy and the GHG emissions across Canada. It’s a dynamic tool for scenario analysis with a long-term, strategic perspective. It traces where we’ve been, where we might go and how we might get there.

It’s a platform for exploring energy system transformations: it’s designed to simulate stock/flow consistent technology-rich trajectories for the energy and materials transformation processes of Canada and the provinces. It can chart various complex energy system trajectories and provide a holistic simulation of low-carbon future and energy independence scenarios.

The model can range 1-2 stock turnovers up to a 100 years timeframe.


Used to examine power prices in Ontario to 2030: impact of deploying wind generation capacity as foreseen in Ontario’s Green Energy Act relative to a greater reliance on natural gas generation; assess the potential for energy efficiency improvements to modify overall energy demand and reduce emissions in Alberta, dramatically reduce its emissions of the greenhouse gas emissions, quantify the impact of utility scale deployment of marine energy technologies (tidal, wave, in-river current) in 5 jurisdictions across Canada, collaborative energy literacy project spearheaded by Senator Elaine McCoy. Can be used for fuel switching, national and provincial carbon budgets, energy efficiency potential, building envelope retrofit impacts, technology assessment, integration of intermittent renewable energy sources, international and interprovincial energy trade, electricity generation capacity planning and “greening” the grid, energy system costs, carbon intensity of oil sands production, travel behaviour change impacts, vehicle fuel standards impacts, electric, hydrogen & renewable-fuel vehicle energy analysis, freight transportation fuel options, electricity demand response, combined heat and power (CHP), multi-generational energy infrastructure planning, sensitivity of energy demand to variation of population and economic projections, shifting lifestyles and energy use linkage.


Alberta Department of Energy (Energy efficiency scenarios), David Suzuki Foundation, The Canadian Academy of Engineering, Institut de l’énergie Trottier (Trottier Energy Futures Project), CanmetENERGY, Natural Resource Canada (marine energy technologies deployment), Pembina Institute (Ontario 2030 Green Energy Act price projections with wind energy deployment)

Key Inputs

Behavioural alternatives of various actors and institutions (households, government organizations, industry, etc). Penetration rates of technonologies over time. Constrains: new stock, market shares, stock retirement times

Key Outputs

Level of economic activity, services required by the population, the energy system, and the emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria air contaminants.

Calibrated historical energy data (1990-2013), scenarios up to 2100.

Registered developers

Michael HoffmanWhatif technologies

Registered model users

UserOrganization typeOutputs used
David Layzell

Calibrated historical energy data (1990-2013),scenarios to 2100