Events have proven the energy industry's ability to use available resources effectively for task and mission accomplishment. The purpose of this paper is to acquaint the energy industry of the potential of recent powerful approaches such as engineering systems, operations research and policy science as well as general systems analysis and synthesis. First, the energy industry viewed from a nation al vantage point is conceptualized on the basis of expert knowledge of mainline activities and systems methodology. The resulting energy system characteristics are then developed more fully as concise statements.
Second, adaptive features of the energy system are identified and discussed. The energy system as defined, although generally dynamic and adaptive, when placed in its complex physical-economic-social-political environment shows definite signs of recurring difficulties. The important roles of mode identification, intelligence and information are emphasized within the framework of a general adaptive system.
Strategic forecasting and contingency planning are important considerations as a prompt follow-up of mode identification for coordination and control of performance, when the energy system is faced with disturbances of global proportions. Moreover, a new method of classification and evaluation of energy models is suggested.
Third, a multi-area, multi-plane and multilevel hierarchical model is recommended for a "unique horizontal country" in order to acceptably deploy stations of decision and control within and between levels of government end business and throughout time.
This paper conveys the message that certain concepts and approaches employed in adaptive systems analysis and hierarchical modelling should be carefully examined by the energy industry with a view to their full exploitation in both usual and critical situations.
In a previous effort1 the author demonstrated that within the systems approach framework one can identify and classify adaptive aspects of the energy industry as well as methodologically study aspects of integration through coordination. The systems analysis, of course, eventually leads to synthesis 1,2.
The hierarchical methodology seems to cope well with aspects of diversity (e.g. size of companies and nature of corporations) and complexity (e.g. bureaucracy). Hierarchical systems assume that certain decisions have priority over others and that there is an effective structure of authority that more than balances tendencies toward anarchy. The emphasis, however, is placed on policy consideration and not on authority and power. The hierarchical model discriminates between structure, decision and organization permits the linkage of varied forms, shaping in different planes, through coordination and policy3. The hierarchical system approach is particularly and directly relevant to decentralized and modular countries, like Canada, and heterogenous organizations such as the European Common Market and OFEC.
The energy industry forms a network of government and business activities interrelated to various degrees ? occurring in a geographic, administrative or political area with the property that energy requirements and resources can be evaluated at particular stages and points in space in respect, primarily, to adequacy, quality and price. The energy industry is a system since its activities are interdependent and occur within a common or overlapping framework of physical, environmental, social, economic, institutional and political considerations.