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 methodologies employed to inform energy (and water) and environmental policy, as well as strategic planning. But till now the time and cost of developing a new model from scratch has been a significant barrier, in particular for developing countries. However, the TIMES-Starter platform dramatically cuts the time needed to assemble an initial model, greatly improves the quality of 1st time TIMES models, and provides all the facilities needed to effectively, efficiently and professionally carry-out a sophisticated energy systems analysis to support better informed decision-making; thereby drastically lowering the slope of the learning curve and expediting the timeframe for realizing meaningful results.

etsap-times-starter The TIMES-Starter platform accomplishes this by providing an integrated full-sector energy system model (which may include non-energy sectors and water if desired) that employs best TIMES modeling practices and is built upon a peer-reviewed database. The model is assembled in a set of sophisticated Excel workbook templates that are readily transformed by a base-year energy balance, resource supply and power generation mix, then calibrated. It includes a rich set of future technology options for all sectors of the energy system, and provides the mechanisms and techniques employed to guide the design of a Reference Scenario. A set of sample sensitivity scenarios, particular well suited to examine least-cost NDC pathways, are included.

etsap-times-starter It has a comprehensive model management platform that overseas all aspects of working with TIMES including integration of the Excel workbooks , RES diagramming, various technology views, job submission, along with dynamic pivot tables. It includes an interactive multi-case graphical comparison and metrics workbook to facilitate interpreting model results, and most importantly the identification of the policies and measures that are key to shaping the future evolution of a (low-carbon) energy system. To date the TIMES-Starter platform has been successful applied in Turkey, China, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Armenia.

Since the one-time (challenging) undertaking of assembling an initial model has been greatly streamlined, building local capacity also takes on a new approach, where either international or skilled local experts can ready the initial country-specific TIMES model and then the training of the local Planning Team is conducted using “their” national model. Once tailored and applied for a particular country, and local capacity built, the TIMES-<country> model is ready to support the requirement of the Paris Accord that NDCs are to be dynamic (living) entities, such that the Baseline is to be redetermined and the NDC targets continually enhanced over time, as well as support other pressing energy and environmental planning issues facing the country.

Note that the TIMES-Starter is not a simple model. It is a complete full-blown TIMES model ready to be tailored to a new model instance. As such, if you are new to VEDA and TIMES you may want to start with the DemoS beginners training model (see the Documentation page), which walks you thru a series of simple models a step at a time teaching the basics of building a TIMES model from scratch under VEDA.