The route to net-zero emissions in Atlantic Canada by 2050 is both time and resource restricted. In this context, energy system models may be used to assess climate change mitigation strategies and to strategically plan for reaching climate change targets in a cost-effective and timely manner. Inspired by these conditions, Net Zero Atlantic is developing an open-source energy system model for Atlantic Canada that will serve as a collaborative tool for resolving concerns regarding our region's energy future. The Atlantic Canada Energy System (ACES) model must be able to illustrate energy system solutions that are possible given the types and characteristics of the resources available in Atlantic Canada in order to provide the best utility to regional decision-makers.
Land intensity, an important aspect of resource development, is currently unaccounted for in the ACES model's optimization decisions, which is typical with the architecture of most capacity expansion energy system models. The absence of land use tracking in the ACES model and other comparable models is concerning, considering the large land use needs connected with renewable energy development, which have been widely documented in the literature. On this premise, our collaboration with NZA will strive to enhance the ACES model's depiction of land use requirements and regional land use restrictions.