FACETS has been designed to address the analytical and communication challenges of the contemporary US energy and environmental policy landscape. FACETS can integrate dozens of unconnected policies and projects undertaken at federal, regional and state levels in response to diverse energy, climate, and air quality policy goals. The energy, environmental, and economic impacts of these measures can be assessed in the context of energy market uncertainties, and comprehensive climate legislation, allowing high priority actions that are robust to future uncertainties to be identified and explored. 

The FACETS modeling approach is:

Regional - FACETS captures the geographical relationships – such as those between renewable resources, electricity loads, and transmission capacity – that are key drivers of the costs of energy system change. It enables true state-level policy modeling within the context of regional and federal policies, and allows assessment of important regional differences in the impacts of federal policies.

Technologically realistic - FACETS represents real energy technologies and the infrastructure that connects them. In the power sector, it models individual power plants and their dispatch, retrofit, and retirement options. Unlike many other powerful energy models, FACETS is transparent, easy to explain, and flexible enough to explore technology futures far from the current energy system. Multiple scenarios can be run and interpreted quickly and easily, to allow for exploration of uncertainty about key variables, assess multiple possible policy variants, and design robust strategies.

Integrative - FACETS analyzes the costs and benefits of policy and technology options over all sectors of the energy system – resources, electricity generation, transportation for people and freight, and industrial and building energy use. Diverse policies and measures can be combined and assessed simultaneously, rather than simply being added up, identifying potential synergies and offsetting effects between approaches. It captures all efficiency-supply interactions, and enables analyses of options that may simultaneously transform multiple sectors, such as widespread use of electric vehicles.

Insight-driven - FACETS utilizes state of the art data handling, visualization, and geographic information systems (GIS) tools to draw insights from many model runs, identify key relationships within the system, locate and address risks and opportunities, and support an iterative learning and policy development process.