U.S. Department of Energy's

Introduction to
System Dynamics
(V 1.0)

Welcome to the Office of Policy and International Affairs's Introduction to System Dynamics (V1.0). This online book was written to introduce system dynamics, a powerful methodology for framing, understanding, and discussing complex policy issues and problems.

Energy policy is well suited for a "systems approach" because those who study, design, and implement national energy policy must not only understand the complexities of our nation's energy sector, but how energy issues influence and "connect" with national policy concerns such as economic growth, technology development, national security, international trade, and environmental conservation, just to name a few.

System dynamics helps the decision maker untangle the complexity of these connections by providing a new language and set of tools to describe - and even model - the cause-and-effect relationships among various policy variables. The goal of this online book is to teach decision makers how to identify the underlying structure of their system or issue - a critical first step in effective policy design and implementation.