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Systems thinking for the Scottish Government



Dennis recently completed a project, on behalf of the renewable energy team in the Scottish Government, using systems thinking and system dynamics modelling to support the formulation of wise policies for the use of biomass - that's largely timber-based material – as the fuel for power generation.


This is a fiendishly complicated policy issue, with problems ranging from how best to design an incentive package for industry that encourages them to do the 'right thing' (which in this case means building plants to generate both electricity and heat, rather than electricity alone), to dealing with local lobbies; from the impact of a sudden demand for timber on the local market for timber (and the consequential impact on price and other timber-using industries), to the overall effect on atmospheric carbon dioxide.


The project has been very successful, and the renewables team found both the causal loop diagrams, and also the prototype system dynamics simulation model of the timber market, very useful. And it also led to Jim Mather, the Scottish Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, quoting Dennis in a debate at the Scottish Parliament - click here, and search on that page for Dennis's name!


If you would like some further information on this project, please contact Dennis.

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A fragment of a system dynamics simulation model
A fragment of a causal loop diagram
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