LEAP stands for Long Term Energy Alternatives Planning and is an accounting tool which balances production and consumption of energy. Just as assets have to equivalent liabilities in a financial balance sheet, supply has to equal demand in an energy balance. LEAP is deterministic in the sense which all outcomes are specified through the user. It is a "what if" tool in which it calculates the implications of a set of assumptions and tells the user what would happen if these were true.

Based on the assumptions provided through the user, LEAP balances the energy flow equations, thereby identifying the energy transformation and primary energy supply needs. The requirements are back-calculated from a set of final energy demands that form the "fixed" side of the first set of the equations of the accounting process. The whole energy system is (can be) involved in the model and the level of detail is actually decided through the user. This means that the data requirements are mainly determined through the user's preferences and could be made to fit the information which is available.  Analysts in developing countries will search this particularly meaningful as good data tends to be a scarce commodity in these countries.

LEAP is also flexible in terms of the format of input data that makes it simple to reconcile and compare data from several sources. Cost of fuels and capacity could also be included at the users' discretion, as can environmental effects such as GHG emissions and pollution. The results can simply be viewed as graphs, charts or tables. The analysis is scenario based, that means that assumptions for a set of potential futures are compiled. Results are computed through LEAP and then compared. The user can therefore gain insight into how various decisions or events may affect the future. You will learn more about this and other software used through power utilities.  We end this unit after a brief look at the future scenario 

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