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.

Collaboration with the TCP Energy Storage on modelling issues

In 2020, the IEA Energy Storage (ES TCP) initiated Task 32 with the aim of developing an open-source modelling platform for energy storage. Due to the increasing importance of storage technologies in deep decarbonisation scenarios in TIMES, it was mutually beneficial for ES TCP Task 32 and ETSAP to collaborate. The report highlights the collaboration and its main findings, which include data related to energy storage technology characteristics such as costs and efficiencies, data associated with the operation of energy storage technology like load profiles, price profiles, renewable energy profiles, and descriptions of energy storage models that are highly detailed in capturing the technical constraints and physical properties of various energy storage technologies. Additionally, the report provides a SubRES file with guidelines for modelling energy storage in TIMES.

The project deliverables are available here.

Workshop series: Approaches to include energy trade in TIMES energy system modelling

This report summarizes the outcome of three workshops about modelling of energy trade in TIMES energy system models. The workshops were held in 2022 and 2023 and involved preparations from numerous ETSAP partners and discussion among the participants. The workshop series has provided an overview of the approaches that are used in the ETSAP community, identified knowledge needs and gaps, facilitated discussions and suggestions for best practices of modelling. In addition to electricity trade, this project address trade of fuels that are a part of an international market, such as biofuels and hydrogen, as well as trade of materials and critical minerals.

Workshop series: Approaches to include human and social dimensions in TIMES energy system models.

This report summarizes the outcome of three workshops about modelling of human dimensions in TIMES energy system models. The workshops were held in 2022 and 2023 and involved preparations from numerous ETSAP partners and discussion among the participants. The workshop series has provided an overview of the approaches that are used in the ETSAP community, identified knowledge needs and gaps, facilitated discussions and suggestions for best practices of modelling. A main finding is that energy behaviour has a large influence on the energy system transition, and that it is thus requires a reflected modelling approach to be able to generate relevant and credible analysis.

International Autumn School of prospective modelling and climate change: energy and water issues

International Autumn School coordinated by Center for Applied Mathematics (CMA) Mines Paris was arranged in November 2023. The school targeted young international PhD students, as well as professionals, and was designed to guide them in identifying methodological keys for drawing up energy transition policies compatible with climate and water issues. The overall aim was to present prospective modelling tools and their use. The lectures were given by 17 speakers from international institutions (France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Monaco, India, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway).

Re-calibration and documentation of the ETSAP-TIAM model

The project has re-calibrated and documented the ETSAP-TIAM model. The model updates includes technology SubRES, an updated macroeconomic outlook, and updated the base year of the model.

Modelling of hydrogen in TIMES models

At the IEA ETSAP ExCo in Gothenburg, many ETSAP parties noted that hydrogen systems were a weaker area of their models. This project carried out a systematic comparison of hydrogen system modelling across the community and organised a joint workshop between IEA Hydrogen and ETSAP to improve the representation of hydrogen in TIMES models. Activities included:

  • A workshop to compare and discuss model input assumptions, in June 2019 at the International Energy Workshop in Paris.
  • An online workshop to compare model outputs, and to link outputs to input assumptions where possible, in September 2020.
  • A session at the December 2020 ETSAP semi-annual workshop to discuss the hydrogen project findings, in December 2020.
  • A joint meeting with IEA Hydrogen, online in December 2020.

The Project report summarises the comparison of model hydrogen inputs, the outputs for two typical decarbonisation scenarios, and makes recommendations for modelling hydrogen in the future. The project deliverables are available here.

Workshop Series: Integrating Sustainable Development Goals Into Energy Systems Models

This report summarises the talks of three workshops about integrating Sustainable Development Goals into energy systems models. The workshops were delivered as webinars on the 13 th of January 2022, 27th of January 2022 and 10th of February 2022.


A TIMES/MIRO app has been developed which can serve as an open-source GUI to TIMES models and it is published under an open-source license on GitHub. The TIMES/MIRO app can be installed locally or on a MIRO Server and be accessible through the web. When the TIMES/MIRO app is locally installed, a free GAMS demo license is sufficient to use the App and solve large-scale models through the TIMES Cloud Service. Hence, the TIMES/MIRO App is an interface that provides ETSAP community the possibility to outreach new users of TIMES in developing countries, where budgeting constraints can be a limitation, or to allow potential interested users in developed countries to try and explore the framework before they decide to move to the more sophisticated VEDA interface.

TIMES Cloud Service BETA

A new TIMES Cloud Service has been established as part of an R&D project funded by ETSAP spearheaded by DWI, GAMS, and KanORS-EMR. The service comprises the Open Source TIMES source code, computing resources (12 core AMD Ryzen CPU with 128GB memory), and a GAMS license including GAMS/Cplex and GAMS/Conopt. The service is based on GAMS/Engine that communicates via a REST API. Access to the TIMES Cloud Service has already been integrated in popular TIMES front ends like VEDA-online and Veda2.0. Other interfaces to this service include TIMES/MIRO, GAMS Engine Web UI, and GAMS Studio.
At the current time the TIMES Cloud Service is only accessible to ETSAP Partners and their designated representatives. Request your registration code for the TIMES Cloud Service and further information by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Enhancing the flexibility in TIMES: Introducing Ancillary Services Markets

The new extension of TIMES introduces endogenous market-based mechanisms that have particularly designed to provide flexibility to the energy system, such as the ancillary services markets. Processes at the supply or demand side can participate in both the energy and reserve markets. In addition, it contains improvements to the representation of storage technologies by endogenously accounting for the replacement cost of storage in the case of excess cycling. The new extension aims at improving the assessment of the cost of integrating variable renewables in electricity supply and demand.

A demo model showcasing the application of the ancillary services mechanism is available for download.

TIMES-GTAP soft-link methodology and interface

The developed and tested a methodology for soft-linking TIMES models with a GTAP- based computable general equilibrium model. This exercise identified input/output data that can be exchanged between the two model types, specified the processes of data harmonization, the attributes on which harmonization can be done, and identified the critical variables and assumptions involved. Since the GTAP and TIMES models are written in different languages (GEMPACK and GAMS) an interface was developed to support the users in linking the models and accordingly exchange data and provide results, without the need of knowing the different languages.

Addressing Uncertainty in TIMES Using Monte Carlo Methods

This project expands the TIMES modelling framework with computationally efficient Monte Carlo Analysis (MCA) method, suitable for probabilistic risk assessment. By attaching probabilities to inputs, MCA allows uncertainty quantification, such as likelihood in achieving certain policy targets, and the relationships between inputs and outputs. Correlated inputs can be represented by their joint probability distribution, which is then given as an input to the MCA. The methodology is tested with the ETSAP-TIAM model, analyzing 2oC pathways.

The report consists of two parts:

  • The technical documentation with the implementation details (the source codes needed to include the method is also given)
  • The scientific report regarding the probabilistic assessment with ETSAP-TIAM

The ETSAP TIMES-Starter Platform

A new approach to building a TIMES energy system optimization model has been ushered in with the availability of the TIMES-Starter Platform. TIMES is among the most widely used least-cost optimization methodology employed to inform energy (and water) and environmental policy, as well as strategic planning. The TIMES-Starter platform dramatically cuts the time needed to assemble an initial model and greatly improves the quality of 1st time TIMES model.

Enhancing and Preparing TIMES for High-Performance Computing (HPC)

The first objective of this project is to assess if TIMES can run on the Linux platform. Additionally, the project also aims for enhanced use of TIMES to be ready for High-Performance Computing. In modern computing terms, it would be prudent to ignore the latest advancements with multiple CPUs and High-Performance Computing Grids.

Included with the project report text are 3 zip files, namely:

  • This file includes a set of Linux scripts to automate the execution of TIMES scenarios (including multiple scenarios) in Linux
  • This file includes the modified TIMES code files for ensuring compatibility of the code both under Windows and Linux
  • This file includes additional TIMES code modification to be able to enable the Grid Computing language features of GAMS

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.

VEDA-TIMES Advanced Demo Model

The advanced VEDA-TIMES DemoS steps are based on the structure developed for the basic VEDA-TIMES DemoS (from DemoS_001 to DemoS_012), using a series of six steps implemented through additional scenarios and subres workbooks, to progressively include some additional VEDA-TIMES features. The complete VEDA-TIMES Advanced Demo is assembled in the single VEDA_Models subfolder called DemoS_Adv. In this folder are all the sub-folders and Excel workbooks needed by VEDA for setting up and using the model.

New VEDA-TIMES users should start first with the VEDA-TIMES basic DemoS and then move to this version of the model.

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.