Topic outline

  • Energy Forecast Modeling

    Welcome to Energy Forecast Modeling.

    This online course is going to cover the Appalachian LCC funded research project, Assessing Future Energy Development across the Appalachian LCC, which was completed by The Nature Conservancy. This project will assist policy makers, land management agencies, and industry in assessing potential future energy development and how those areas may overlap with biological and ecological resources. The information and tools from this research is intended to inform planning decisions that can effectively avoid, minimize, or offset impacts from energy development to important natural areas.

    Energy Forecast Modelling

    This research will inform discussions on how to meet immediate and future energy needs while sustaining the health of natural systems by providing vital information to policy makers, land management agencies, industry, and the public to identify potential future energy development and how that development may intersect with biological and ecological values.

    Models of wind, shale gas, and coal development for the entire study area have been created to predict potential future energy development and impacts to natural resources within the Appalachians. Models and data from all development projections populate a web-based mapping tool to help inform regional landscape planning decisions.

    The energy forecast web-based mapping visualization tool of this energy assessment combines multiple layers of data on energy development trends and important natural resource and ecosystem services, to give a more comprehensive picture of what potential energy development could look like in the Appalachians. The tool shows where energy development is most likely to occur and indicates areas where such development may intersect with other significant values like intact forests, important streams, and vital ecological services such as drinking water supplies.

    Assessing Future Energy Development across the Appalachian LCC uses models that combine data on energy development trends and identifies where these may intersect with important natural resource and ecosystem services to give a more comprehensive picture of what potential energy development could look like in the Appalachians.

    Models of wind, shale gas, and coal development for the entire study area were created to predict potential future energy development and impacts to natural resources within the Appalachians. Models and data from all development projections populate a web-based mapping tool to help inform regional landscape planning decisions. The web-based mapping tool allows policy makers, land management agencies, industries, and others to see where development may likely occur and intersect with important natural values to inform regional landscape planning decisions. Ultimately this information is intended to support dialogue and conservation on how to effectively avoid, minimize, and offset impacts from energy development to important natural areas and the valuable services they provide.

    Course Registration

    The course contents are visible without logging in. However, you will need to register here on the Landscape Partnership Learning Network in order to:

    • Receive your Certificate of Completion
    • Create and update your Profile
    • Access your Dashboard

    Certificate of Completion

    After completing the activities in this course, you can download the optional Certificate of Completion. Simply click the course name next to the certificate icon. You must be logged in to access the certificate.

    Course Description

    This course will explain the science behind the development of the tool, demonstrate to users how-to use the web map application, provide examples of how this information can be used to make management decisions, and guide users through an interactive exercise using the data in a case study activity.

    This course consists of an introduction and six additional modules. Participants should complete the modules in sequential order. If, after reviewing the prerequisites for a module, a participant feels that they already have an understanding of the information, they can proceed to the next module. For example, if you already have experience using the Energy Forecast model web application, you could skip Module 2.

    In Modules 2-4, two different levels of instruction are provided. The first level is known as the manager level. The focus is to provide an understanding of how to use the tool and to answer questions related to conservation management. Participants will not perform additional analysis; rather they will focus on the thought process behind the analysis. The second level, known as the technical level, focuses on showing participants how-to use the tool and the actual process of completing analysis using additional software and data to strategically plan conservation actions.

    Course Objectives

    Upon completion of this course, users will be able to:

    • Identify areas at risk for energy development using the Energy Tool web application.
    • Apply information from a case study to develop a strategy for utilizing the tool as part of a decision management process to answer questions regarding priority resources with the organization’s area of responsibility.
    • Develop a good understanding of the science behind the tools and their appropriate use.
    • Facilitate creative thinking to enhance the utilization of the tools to answer questions for the strategic delivery of conservation activities.

    Course Requirements

    Participants will complete readings, view instructional videos, complete a review quiz at the end of the course, and provide feedback regarding the course.

    Technical Requirements

    You will need to use Adobe Reader to view course materials and the ability to stream videos with sound.

    ArcGIS is needed for participants who plan to complete the technical level of Module 4. Alternative GIS software can be used, however, directions are providing using ArcGIS. Manager level users can complete the course using their internet browser of choice.

    • Course Prerequisites

      Decorative icon for Course Prerequisites

      There are no prerequisites to take this course. However, within the course, participants should complete the modules in order as they build upon information in the previous modules.

      Prerequisites are covered at the beginning of each module.

      • Module 1: The Science Behind the Energy Forecast Model

        Prerequisite

        Before starting this module, you should review the information in the Course Introduction. No experience with the Energy Forecast Model is required.

        Objective

        The objective of this module is to explain the need to address energy development within the Appalachian LCC region and explain the science behind the Assessing Future Energy Development across the Appalachian LCC (aka Energy Forecast Model) project.

        Overview

        The Appalachians are a landscape filled with globally-significant biological diversity and cultural resources that provides essential benefits to large cities and surrounding human communities. The region is also rich in energy resources that meet national and regional demands for energy. As wind, natural gas, and oil energy development expand along with traditional coal, there is an increasing need for research to inform discussions on how to meet immediate and future energy needs while sustaining the health of natural systems. To help address this need, the Appalachian LCC awarded a grant to The Nature Conservancy to assess current and future energy development across the entire region.


      • Module 2: How to Use Energy Forecast Model

        Prerequisite

        Before starting this module, you should complete Module 1. You should be familiar with the “Assessing Future Energy Development across the Appalachian” research project.

        Objective

        The objective of this exercise is to familiarize you with the Energy Tool Web Mapping Application and utilization of the energy tool data within the ArcGIS platform. 

        Overview

        Within this module, you will first watch a video presentation which provides a detailed overview of how to use the Energy Forecast Model web application and the data layers currently available. After watching the instructional video, you will walk through a hands-on activity using the Energy Tool Model web application.

        You will access the Energy Forecast Model web application and explore the different features and data that are available.

        There are two levels for this activity. The first level is called the Manager Level. This level will focus on using the information contained within the web application only. The activity will cover the different data layers that are available and features of the web application. No experience with GIS software is needed to complete this level. The second level, Technical Level, will cover the same material as the Manager Level, but it will also provide a section for downloading the data and using the data within the ArcGIS platform. If you choose the Technical Level, you should have some experience using ArcGIS software.

        Module 2 concludes with a review session.


      • Module 3: Decision Support Tool Using Case Study Examples

        Prerequisite

        Before starting this module, you should complete Modules 1 and 2. You should be familiar with using the Energy Forecast Model data visualization tool.

        Objective

        The objective of this module is to provide several case study examples for utilizing the Energy Forecast Model data visualization tool as part of a decision management process to answer questions regarding priority resources within the organization’s area of responsibility. 

        Overview

        Within this module, you will watch a video presentation which provides several case study examples of how data from the Energy Forecast Model can be used to aid in decisions related to conservation management.

        After watching the video, participants should review the brief summary information. The case study scenarios provided are examples of how data from the Energy Forecast Model can be used and integrated with other data sources to refine priorities and strategically plan for conservation management. Participants should be able to use these examples to facilitate creative thinking in applying the Energy Forecast Model data with other data in different geographic areas.


      • Module 4: Case Study Activity

        Prerequisite

        Before starting this module, you should complete Modules 1, 2, and 3. You should be familiar with the Energy Forecast Model online tool and be comfortable running the analysis for your area of interest.

        Objective

        Participants will apply information from a case study to develop a strategy for utilizing the tools as part of a decision management process to answer questions regarding priority resources within the organization’s area of responsibility. The final objective is to facilitate creative thinking to enhance the utilization of the tools to answer questions for the strategic delivery of conservation activities.

        Overview

        In Module 3, we discussed several case study examples of how the Energy Forecast Model tool can be used to identify and prioritizes areas for conservation based on organizational priorities and needs.  In this module, users will walk through a case study example using the directions that are provided. Complete instructions for this activity are available for download from the course materials.

        There are two levels for this activity. The first level is called the Manager Level. This level will utilize the same data as that in the Technical Level, however, you will not to perform the analysis. The analysis on the data layers has already been completed and the results uploaded to the Appalachian LCC Conservation Planning Atlas (https://applcc.databasin.org/). The original data layers as well as the intermediate layers have been incorporated into a web map. The instructions for the activity will explain what the different layers are and discuss how they can be used to answer the question. No experience with GIS software is needed to complete this level.

        The second level, Technical Level, will cover the same material as the Manager Level, but it will also provide a section for downloading the data and using the data within the ArcGIS platform. If you choose the Technical Level, you should have some experience using ArcGIS software.

        A list of potential data layers is also provided. The next section provides a potential solution for answering the stated question. You can use additional data layers or incorporate different data layers you have available. The goal of this exercise is to get you thinking of the many different ways the data from Energy  Forecast Model data can be used in conjunction with other data layers and resources.


      • Assessment Quiz

        This quiz is intended to assess your comprehension of the material covered in Modules 1-4 of this course.

        You will need a score of 60% to pass.

        There are a total of 10 questions. Once you have answered all of the questions, you will be able to review your answers before submitting them. After you submit your answers, your results will be displayed.

        You may take the test as many times as necessary to receive the minimum score required. 

      • Participant Feedback

        Thank you for participating in this online course. It is very important to us that the online courses we provide are beneficial to course participants. A link is provided below to a brief course assessment survey. We value your feedback and will use your responses to improve on future online offerings of this course.

        If you have any questions regarding the course evaluation or prefer to provide feedback in person, please don't hesitate to email me at jessica_rhodes@fws.gov.

        Participant Feedback Survey

      • Certificate of Completion

        Course certificate imageOnce you have completed the activities in this course, you can download the optional Certificate of Completion. The Certificate will display the name you used to create your account.

        You must be logged in to access the certificate.