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Cap & Trade Simulation

The Cap & Trade Simulation (“the simulation”) is a tool that provides you an opportunity to put the theory of cap and trade into practice. In the simulation, you (or your team) act as an environmental compliance officer at an electric power plant located in the fictitious country of Ecoland. Your job is to develop a compliance strategy that will allow your facility to meet the emission limits (or cap) while still generating enough electricity to meet customer demand. You can employ various techniques such as switching fuels, installing emission controls, shifting electricity generation between generating units, adding new generating units, investing in demand-side electricity conservation programs, and/or purchasing emission allowances from other facilities.

There are two cap-and-trade scenarios available in this simulation: 1) a program to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions that contribute to acid rain and fine particle pollution; or 2) a program to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to climate change. No actual allowances are traded and all of the "companies" featured in the simulation are fictitious. The data used in the simulation are based on real-world situations, but do not reflect or influence the current allowance trading markets.

Download the Cap & Trade Simulation Software

Emission Trading Simulation (ZIP) 34 MB, March 2012

This ZIP file contains the simulation software. To use the simulation download this ZIP file, uncompress it, and then open the ETSim.exe file to begin the simulation.


NOTE: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

Introduction to the Cap & Trade Simulation (PDF) 1 p. 378 KB, March 2012

This one-page document provides a brief overview of what the simulation is and how to use it.

Participant's Guide (PDF) 16 pp. 1 MB, March 2012

This Participant's Guide walks you through the basic rules and functionality of the simulation. This guide includes "tips" that may help you understand how to make decisions when managing the simulated power company and includes a frequently asked questions section.

Facilitator's Guide (PDF) 11 pp. 544 KB, March 2012

This Facilitator's Guide provides more in-depth information about the simulation and how it functions. It also provides information to help you lead the simulation in a classroom or conference setting as well as details about how to modify the simulation. The guide is organized into an introduction, instructions for using the simulator in a classroom or conference setting, frequently asked questions, topics for further discussion, and additional resources about cap & trade programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the system requirements for the simulation software?

  • Windows XP or higher
  • .NET 3.5 or higher

How do I install the simulation software?

  1. Download the zip file from this website.
  2. Unzip the folder using zip software (links to free zip software are posted on this web page).
  3. Run the ETSim.exe file in the unzipped folder. You can transfer the simulation to other computers by copying the unzipped folder to the target computer.

Can I play the simulation over the Internet?

No, the simulation is not a web-enabled application. Additionally separate instances of the simulation cannot communicate with each other over a local network. Multiple computers each with a separate instance of the simulation as well as someone to act as a facilitator are required to use the simulation.

Can I play the simulation against the computer?

No, the simulation is for use in a classroom or conference setting and requires multiple computers as well as someone to act as a facilitator.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the simulation?

Jeremy Schreifels

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