LEAP (Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning) is an integrated modelling tool that can be used to track energy consumption, production and resource extraction in all sectors of an economy, which is developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute [1]. It is usually used to analyse national energy-systems, and it is free to qualified users in developing countries but there is a cost for OECD based users. Currently there are over 5,000 users in 169 countries which include government agencies, academics, NGOs, consulting companies, and energy utilities (it is estimated that at least a few hundred of these users are very active). To use the model three of four days of training is recommended: online training is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

LEAP functions using an annual time-step, and the time horizon can extend for an unlimited number of years (typically between 20 and 50). LEAP supports a number of different modelling methodologies: on the demand side these range from bottom-up, end-use accounting techniques to top‐down macroeconomic modelling. On the supply side, LEAP provides a range of accounting and simulation methodologies for modelling electric sector generation and capacity expansion planning. This also allows for the incorporation of data and results from more specialized models. LEAP’s modelling capabilities operate at two basic conceptual levels. At one level, LEAP’s built‐in calculations handle all of the “non controversial” energy, emissions and cost‐benefit accounting calculations. At the second level, users enter spreadsheet‐like expressions that can be used to specify time‐varying data or to create a wide variety of sophisticated multi‐variable models, thus enabling econometric and simulation approaches to be embedded within LEAP’s overall accounting framework. LEAP does not currently support optimization modelling, although this capability is currently being developed in conjunction with the IAEA in Vienna. Overall, LEAP can simulate all sectors and all technologies within an energy system. LEAP also includes a scenario manager that can be used to describe individual policy measures. These can then be combined in different combinations and to create alternative integrated scenarios. The resulting scenarios are self-consistent storylines of how an energy system might evolve over time. LEAP displays its results as charts, tables and maps which are user-defined and can be exported to Excel or PowerPoint: these include fuel demands, costs, unit productions, GHG emissions, air-pollutants, and more. Usually, these results are then used to compare an active policy scenario versus a policy neutral business-as-usual scenario.

A list of 34 reports involving LEAP can be obtained from [2]. In addition, LEAP has been used for over 70 peer-reviewed journal papers including an investigation into CCS in Korea [3], analysis of the potential reductions in energy demand and GHG emissions within road transport in China [4], identifying the feasible penetration of sustainable energy on the Greek island of Crete [5], and also an investigation into the benefits of improved building energy-efficiencies in China [6].


  1. Community for Energy, Environment and Development, Stockholm Environment Institute, 25th April 2009,http://www.energycommunity.org/
  2. LEAP Applications, Stockholm Environment Institute, 25th April 2009,http://www.energycommunity.org/default.asp?action=45
  3. Lee, S., Park, J.-W., Song, H.-J., Maken, S. & Filburn, T., Implication of CO2 capture technologies options in electricity generation in Korea. Energy Policy, 36(1), pp. 326-334, 2008.
  4. Yan, X. & Crookes, R. J., Reduction potentials of energy demand and GHG emissions in China’s road transport sector. Energy Policy, 37(2), pp. 658-668, 2009.
  5. Giatrakos, G. P., Tsoutsos, T. D. & Zografakis, N., Sustainable power planning for the island of Crete. Energy Policy, 37(4), pp. 1222-1238, 2009.
  6. Li, J., Towards a low-carbon future in China’s building sector–A review of energy and climate models forecast. Energy Policy, 36(5), pp. 1736-1747, 2008.