Energy use and supply are fundamentally important to society. With the possible exceptions of agriculture and forestry, the use of energy has had a greater impact on the environment than any other human activity—a result of the large scale and pervasive nature of energy-related activities. Although energy and environmental concerns were originally local in character—for example, health and safety issues associated with extraction, transport, or noxious emissions—they have now broadened in scope to cover regional and global issues, such as security, acid rain and the greenhouse effect. The economics of energy use and the cost of environmental control have become major political issues and the subject of extensive national and international debate and regulation.
With extensive expertise in engineering and social sciences, Argonne National Laboratory continues to play a lead role in solving problems related to energy, environment, and economics, both regionally and internationally. Innovative Argonne-developed methodologies, systems, technologies, and analytical tools have proven extremely useful for analysis of energy, environmental, and economic systems, facilitating credible, defensible decisions regarding large-scale deployment.