Article InformationEdit

Title: Reality Check Plus - Energy Use Scenario for the State of Maryland

Author(s): Stephen Reiling and Bhuwan Thapa

Affiliation: University of Maryland

Presented At: STiS 2008

Primary Topic Area: Energy Policy


The complexity of interactions among population dynamics, land use, and energy consumption calls for planning and decision making that include a wide range of perspectives of what is possible and desirable in the future. Valuable input into such planning and decision making can be gained from drawing on the insights of stakeholders and embedding their perspectives and expectations in rigorous quantitative analysis. Our project presents findings from stakeholder-guided scenarios for Maryland’s energy use.

“Reality Check Plus” is part of ongoing, US EPA-funded work carried out jointly by the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and the Center for Integrative Environmental Research at the University of Maryland. The project builds on four regional workshops to create a statewide Blueprint for the Future of Maryland, which will identify tools, indicators and recommendations for improved planning on the local, regional and/or statewide levels.

The research presented here focuses on the non-transportation energy implications of various planning scenarios, including energy consumption by the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. In addition, we explore the impacts of the location and degree of economic activity on energy use. For example, as population densities increase, new opportunities exist for decentralized power generation through combined heat and power systems, or more extensive use of district heating systems. Using scenarios from the Reality Check Plus exercises, we explore likely future geographies of energy use. Assessing the viability of alternative energy systems will be key to smart technology choice and smart investment decision-making, as well as smart growth.

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