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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Methodology

The intent of the Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models is to construct a reasonable profile of investments (e.g., solar plant construction and operating costs) to demonstrate the employment and economic impacts that will likely result during the construction and operating periods. Given fluctuations in power plant costs and changes in industry and personal consumption patterns, the analysis is not designed to provide a precise forecast, but rather an estimate of overall economic impacts from specific scenarios. Please see Limitations of JEDI Models for further discussion of appropriate use of the JEDI models.

Each JEDI model uses the same basic input-output methodology. That is, dollars spent on a power generation project in a state, county or region are analyzed to determine their employment and economic impact within the local area. Local spending results from using:

  • local labor (e.g., concrete pouring jobs)
  • services (e.g., engineering, design, legal)
  • materials (e.g., wind turbine blades)
  • or other components (e.g., nuts and bolts)

The portion of project spending that occurs locally (i.e., in the geographic area being analyzed) can be adjusted by the user (to reflect location- and project-specific details) under the "local share" category.

JEDI models utilize economic data (multipliers and consumption patterns) derived from the Minnesota IMPLAN Group (MIG) state-level data to estimate the local economic activity and the resulting impact from new energy generation plants. MIG compiles and aggregates national and regional economic and demographic data to calculate inter-industry linkages and the relationships between changes in demand for goods and services, and the associated economic activity at the local, state and regional levels. State multipliers for employment, wage and salary, and output and personal spending patterns are derived from the MIG accounting software using currently available data. Changes in spending patterns brought about by investments in power plants, fuel production facilities, or other projects are matched with appropriate industry multipliers. If the year for which the expenditures (dollars) are entered does not match the model's multiplier data year, the JEDI model applies price deflators to account for changes in actual dollar value. The summary results are then converted back to the original dollar year entered by the user.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory performed extensive interviews with power generation project developers, state tax representatives, and others in the appropriate industries to determine appropriate default values contained within the models. However, actual project spending on goods and services can vary significantly by project and location. Similar to local shares, these values are easily adjusted by the user to account for variability among projects and specific locations.

Comparing Results from JEDI Model Runs

When comparing results from JEDI models for different technologies, it is best to compare between facilities with equivalent energy production rather than simply comparing facilities with a similar nameplate capacity (e.g., based on kilowatt-hours generated, rather than kilowatts installed). In either case, capacity factor and energy production should be considered when comparing the economic development impacts from different power generation technologies.