New to ETSAP

IEA-ETSAP is a multilateral international agreement under the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes(TPCs) initiative. ETSAP has a unique network of energy modelling teams, using various models to provide scientific advice in support of better informed decision-making forthe formulation of energy policy that fosters clean, secure, reliable and affordable energy systems to support sustainable economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship of our planet. Any country (as well as other entities focused on energy issues and planning) can petition to become a participant of ETSAP, and the semi-annual workshops held around the world are open to all interested parties.

Energy systems modelling for decision making

Energy policy and planning is more and more complex and faces significant uncertainties regarding future developments (availability of primary energy sources, environmental protection issues, security of supply, risk, and effects on the economy). Furthermore, the interdependencies of supply and demand, energy and water, technology evolution, economic growth, etc. necessitate employing a comprehensive view of an energy system approach. Thishelps to ensure optimal use of resources, prioritise actions in technology development and deployment, and encourages policies aimed at addressing national and global policies. The advanced energy system model generators and tools first pioneered by ETSAP are constantly being improved to ensure that they are able to tackle the tough evolving issues confronting practitioners looking to transform the world’s energy systems into the future.

ETSAP in a nutshell

ETSAP (Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme) is the longest running Technology Collaboration Programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA). It started in 1977, in response to the first OPEC oil embargo,with the purpose of coming up with a common (optimisation) platform for countries to examine the evolution their energy systems in response to technology developments and policy priorities. ETSAP first produced the MARKAL modelling platform and more recently itssuccessor TIMES. TIMES is an integrated energy system modelling platform or “model generator” and can be used to create specific energy system models for cities, countries, regions, or the whole world. There is a “powerful Model Management System” for TIMES, VEDA, that overseas all aspects of working with the model.

ETSAP currently has as members twenty countries, the European Commission and two private sector sponsors. ETSAP contracting partiesare the energy policy ministries or departments of the respective governments. The members of ETSAP carrying out the common program of work on behalf of their governments (or other entity) are institutions that are actively involved in offering analytic rigor as part of providing policy advice for the formulation of policies and programs consistent withthe goals and vision for the evolution of their energy system. The members meet twice a year to share knowledge, discuss the research agenda and carry-out a common program of work. A unique network of energy modelling teams from almost seventy countries use the MARKAL/TIMES family of models to support decision making in energy policy and analyse energy systems development.


The work programme of ETSAP for the next three years focusses on understanding and facilitating the energy transition to achieve the “well below 2oC goal” of the Paris agreement.

Benefits and Costs of joining ETSAP


  • Participants have the right to be represented at the Executive Committee and to participate with one vote in all decisions including accepting new members, setting the research agenda, management of the budget, interaction with the IEA and other TCPs;
  • Free access to the ANSWER, VEDA Model Management System, updates and related preferential assistance;
  • Participation in the annual calls for proposals of research projects funded by ETSAP;
  • Access to the global multi-regional TIMES Integrated Assessment Model - TIAM (with endogenous trade of energy and CO2 permits, stochastic variables and climate equations) and continuous updates;
  • Networking with other institutions at the cutting edge of the application of MARKAL/TIMES;
  • Free access to the training courses (offered at least twice a year), and
  • Increased chances to be part of consortia coordinated by ETSAP members for submitting projects to international funding agencies (USAID, EC, WB, etc.).

Participation Cost: €20 000 per annum

ETSAP’s tools and how to use them


TIMES is an integrated energy system modelling platform or “model generator” that can be used to depict specific instances of energy systems for cities, countries, regions, or the whole world.

TIMES is open source available under a GPLv.3.0 license. You can have access to the TIMES code on GitHub and contribute to its development. TIMES is written in GAMS the “General Algebraic Modeling System”.

To use ETSAP TIMES effectively a third-party software for data input and results analysis such as VEDA would be required. VEDA is the “Model Management System” for TIMES. It supports all aspects of working with the model including preparation of input data (in Excel workbooks or templates), management of the templates, browsing of the data, Reference Energy System (RES) network diagramming, organization and submission of model runs, and processing of the model results via user-defined views by means of dynamic data cubes (“smart” pivot tables).

Semi-Annual Workshops and Training

ETSAP conducts two workshops per year which are distributed around the world to facilitate attendance by a wide group of interested individuals. The workshops are open to all interested parties. Participants are welcome to share knowledge through presentations (and often extensive side discussions) and learn of research project advancements.

ETSAP offers training courses at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels to familiarizeusers with both the underlying mathematics embodied in the TIMES model generator and the “how to” aspect of building and running a model via the VEDA model management system. The introductory training course is offered coinciding with each semi-annual workshop, or can be arrangement upon request. Training courses are open to everyone, for a modest fee (in not affiliated with a CP). If you are interested in attending all you need to do is register once the next workshop is announced. Starting in 2017 ETSAP established the Tosato Grant, in honor of GianCarlo Tosato one of the early pioneers and practitioners of MARKAL/TIMES and the ETSAP Operating Agent and Project Head for many years, which provides financial support for trainees from less developed countries to attend ETSAP’s training courses and the ETSAP workshop. The awarding of the grant is decided by the Operating Agent and the Chair, based upon merit and need from the requests submitted though the applicationform available here.

ETSAP Starter Model

ETSAP recently developed theTIMES-Starter model. Itoffersnew users a complete TIMES model structure employing best practices that can be readily customized to a particular energy system. It is built from solid documented data sources and provides all the basic building blocks, tools and techniques that need to be employed as part of assembling and applying a TIMES model. Currently the TIMES-Starter is available under ANSWER (see ANSWER-TIMES Starter Model and Guidelines). A VEDA instance of the Starter has been approved as a R&D project this is expected to be available before the end of 2017.

TIMES Documentation

ETSAP has just completed (in 2016) a new complete set of documentation for TIMES and VEDA.

VEDA-TIMES Demo Models

There is a set of VEDA-TIMES demo models that start from an energy balance of EU27, employ careful naming conventions, and take an approach of incrementally building a model by expanding the underlying Reference Energy System (RES) one step at a time to introduce modeling techniques and technology representation in a consistent manner. There are twelve steps proceeding from a very simple few process model, through key basic requirements up to intermediate level demo models.

Publications and Reports

ETSAP publishes an Annex Final Report every three years to present the work and related publications of teams that use ETSAP’s the tools. The latest reports available are:

Limiting Global Warming to Well Below 2 °C: Energy System Modelling and Policy Development is the second book published by IEA-ETSAP members, which collates a range of concrete analyses at different scales from around the globe, revisiting the roles of countries, cities and local communities in pathways to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make a well-below-2°C world a reality.

Informing Energy and Climate Policies Using Energy System Models was written by IEA-ETSAP members, it collates a range of methodological approaches and case studies of employing the latest modeling practice at national and international scale based on IEA-ETSAP tools and expertise.

Where can I get help?

If you are interested in becoming an ETSAP Contracting Party please contact the Chairman of the Executive Committee.

ETSAP members are active all around the globe performing energy system analyses. The table below provides an indication of the areas ETSAP members are actively engaged, along with project/model weblinks and contact information of the respective modelling teams which can be contacted for additional information or further collaboration opportunities.