The Texas Interactive Power Simulator (TIPS) is an interactive analytical tool developed at the University of Texas at Austin for quantitatively comparing the first-order economic and environmental tradeoffs of different electricity production methods in Texas. The tool is designed for analysis of different power choices and is presented in an online format for use by students, the general public, and government decision-makers. The core electricity industry data are Texas-specific, but the flexibility of the framework, when combined with user supplied content, extends its applicability to the United States and world electricity markets. TIPS provides a method for assessing the tradeoffs of electricity generation technologies in terms of economic costs and environmental impacts. Economic costs include major factors such as the cost of capacity, fuel, operation and maintenance (O&M), as well as the costs of conservation programs and environmental impact mitigation technology. Environmental impacts include market externalities such as the environmental impacts on air, land, and water, and are normalized per kWh generated (for example, pounds of CO2 or NOx, acres of land, or gallons of cooling water consumed per kWh of generated electricity). Environmental impacts can further be associated with a cost, which is included in the overall levelized cost of electricity. Users can supply their own data for interactive experimentation, though peer-reviewed data are provided as default values. TIPS’ outputs include text, graphs, and pictograms showing the electricity output and environmental impact of the user’s selections, which allow the user to interpret the overall impact for different fuel mixes. Source data are incorporated from government sources and peer reviewed technical literature. The TIPS interactive interface allows the user to analyze a desired electricity mix according to the percentage breakdown of electricity production for each generation technology. The user input determines the overall direct and indirect costs of a unit of electricity according to the particular cost parameters associated with each generation technology. This manuscript discusses the methodology used in TIPS calculation and shares the results of using TIPS to analyze the cost and environmental impacts for a variety of illustrative and possible generation scenarios in Texas, including the following: high carbon prices, nuclear renaissance, and continuing wind market growth.

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