ETSAP funds research and tools development projects aiming to expand the methodology and advance the software tools. It undertakes projects to make the methodology easier to apply, more efficient in its processes and calculations and to cover a wider range of energy supply and demand technologies.

Time-slice tool for capturing the characteristics of intermittent renewables

The temporal representation of renewables in energy system models can significantly impact results. By using a low level of detail, the variability of renewables are not sufficiently captured, leading to an overestimation of the uptake of intermittent renewables, an overestimation of the use of baseload technologies, while flexible technologies are not sufficiently valued. This tool can be used to set up the proper time-slice structure of a model in order to capture the characteristics of renewables. The tool is based on selecting a representative set of historical periods to accurately model the temporal dimension. The tool relies on MILP and is currently written in Python and GAMS. The tool and the related manual can be downloaded here.

RES Diagram Data Extraction Tool

The RES Diagram Data Extraction Tool (RES-DDET) extracts TIMES model data to produce Reference Energy System (RES) diagrams, for models created using the VEDA-FE software. These diagrams are produced by the yEd software, which is a powerful diagramming application that is available as a free download. A range of options are available to produce particular parts of the RES or to aggregate processes to simplify the diagrams. The tool and manuals are available for download.

Dispatching and unit commitment features in TIMES

The Unit Commitment extension of TIMES is intended for modellers who wish to incorporate short-term operational decisions for power plants into long-term capacity expansion planning. For instance, the intermittency and high fluctuations of variable renewable energy technologies, i.e. wind and solar, requires the net load (total load minus load met by renewables) to be covered by flexible hydrothermal and storage options in which case the short-term operational constraints may significantly impact longer term investments. Therefore, the strategic investment decisions and the optimal roadmap of the power sector should be also based on short-term power plant scheduling and dispatching and not only on long-term energy policies and strategic planning. The unit commitment extension of TIMES directly implements operational constraints of power plants into an energy system modelling framework. In this sense, this extension enables the integration of energy policy targets (e.g. CO2 emission reduction targets, renewable energy penetration targets) and daily production scheduling.

ANSWER-TIMES Starter Model [Guidelines]
(If you would like to have access to ANSWER-TIMES starter model please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The TIMES-Starter model provides new users with a well thought out TIMES model structure employing best practices that is built from solid documented data sources. It provides all the basic building blocks, tools and techniques that need to be employed as part of assembling and applying a TIMES model.

The model data is assembled in flexible Excel workbooks (templates) that collectively comprise a viable starting point for the development of a TIMES model - both with respect to designing a Reference Energy System (RES) and the depiction of the commodities and technologies underlying that RES.

The TIMES-Starter database is largely derived from the US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development (EPA-ORD) Nine-Region US MARKAL model (US9r) database which is a peer-reviewed compilation of data from EPA, US Department of Energy (DOE) Annual Energy Outlook. Where the EPA database did not provide technologies other credible data sources were used.

Integrating recurring uncertainties in ETSAP energy system models

The project addressed the following objectives:

  • Submit a report with a full description of the use of both the portfolio approach and the operational recourse approach (SPINES).
  • Transfer the knowledge to ETSAP members on how to include these approaches in the TIMES models.
  • Illustrate the approaches using examples of the electricity sector.
  • Compare the portfolio/operational recourse approaches to the deterministic perfect foresight alternative.

The implementation of the process is shown in the example model scenario files that can be downloaded here.

Energy, Climate Change and Local Atmospheric Pollution Scenarios Evaluated with the TIAM-MACRO Model

The Integrated Assessment Model TIAM-MACRO model was extended to consider externalities related to Local Atmospheric Pollution (LAP) of 15 world regions. Externalities are changes of welfare due to activities (in our case the impacts of LAP originated from the energy and transportation system) without being reflected in market prices (hence not paid by the polluters). TIAM-MACRO contributes to coherent and consistent policy analyses and insights both at the world and regional level and correlates demand for energy services to macro-economic developments across regions and time until the end of the 21st century.

VEDA-TIMES Demo Models

This is a set of VEDA-TIMES models that start from an energy balance of EU27 and focuses on building a model incrementally employing a standard approach to describing the underlying Reference Energy System (RES) and careful naming conventions. The model starts with a simple supply curve feeding a single demand and grows step by step to build out the RES adding new commodities, technologies and regions; introducing new parameters and more advanced TIMES modelling features along the way. There are twelve steps with some variants in this set of basic and intermediate demo models.

Incorporating behaviour into energy systems models

Presentations from the workshop of April 20-21 are available here:

Normalisation and Updating of Technical and Economic Data of Supply and End‐Use Energy Technologies in the ETSAP Energy Technology Data Source

The aim of this work was to build methodology and a simple tool to update and homogenize (normalise) on a common basis the technical and economic data that characterise supply and end use energy technologies in the ETSAP Energy Technology Data Source (ETechDS). The tool is implemented in MS Excel and can be downloaded from here. An example of using the data in a SubRES together with a brief user's note is given here.

Transport Modal choice in a TIMES model

The objective of this research project was to incorporate modal choice within passenger transport in TIMES models, which to date has been exogenously modelled, so that no competition could exist between alternative modes.


There are two different developments with the TIMES-MACRO & MERGE links:

  • The hard link of TIMES-MACRO for one region (i.e., USA) and MERGE for all other world regions
  • The soft link of global TIAM-MACRO.

Incorporating Generation Expansion Planning under Wide-Scale RES Energy Penetration in the TIMES model

The aim of the project is to incorporate in the TIMES model a more accurate approach of electricity generation expansion scenarios, incorporating storage, reserve plants and transmission system expansion in the cost of RES technologies.

Attach models with VEDA FE

This feature enables linking up to 3 different VEDA-TIMES models to be run as a single model. This can be used to achieve two different objectives:
  • To establish a “hard link” between two (or three) existing models.
  • To split an existing large model in to two or three parts, in case some databases are approaching the 2GB limit of Microsoft ACCESS.
The functionality is specifically designed to allow continued (independent) development of the models that are being linked.

Full working example with demo models


Automating creation of VEDA FE-TIMES models from an Energy Balance

A new feature of VEDA FE automates the creation of base-year templates with bare minimum input from user. This includes composing names and descriptions of technologies and fuels based on information provided on a single Excel sheet in an intuitive format.

Sample Energy Balance

Linking Energy Systems Models and Economic Models – Moving to Best Projects

The objective is to improve methodologies for providing feedback from energy systems model results to the economic drivers and for determining the economic impacts of different energy scenarios.