The ETSAP TIMES-Starter Example

The TIMES-Starter modeling example offers the possibility of setting up a national energy system model using the TIMES optimization model generator.

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. Developing a new model using the TIMES model generator requires a careful design, in order to have an appropriate representation of the energy system of each country, in particular for developing countries.

The TIMES-Starter offers the possibility to examine in detail the advantages of TIMES through the application of a standardize, simplified representation of a national energy system which is adapted to the national energy balance.


The TIMES-Starter example provides an integrated full-sector energy system model, that employs standard modeling practices and is built upon a publicly available technology database. The model is assembled in a set of Excel workbook templates that are transformed and calibrated based on a base-year energy balance. It includes a set of future technology options for all sectors of the energy system and provides the mechanisms and techniques to guide the design of a Reference Scenario. A set of sample sensitivity scenarios, suited to examine least-cost NDC pathways, are included. It has a comprehensive model management platform that oversees all aspects of working with TIMES including integration of the Excel workbooks, RES diagramming, various technology views, run submission, along with dynamic pivot tables. It includes an interactive multi-case graphical comparison and metrics workbook to facilitate interpreting model results, and 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 example has been successful applied in Turkey, China, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Armenia.

The TIMES-starter example can be used as a first step in building capacity on the use of the TIMES model generator through an initial, simplified model that can be used in the training of a local Planning Team using a model which represents the basic structure of the national energy system.

Once the local capacity is built, a proper country specific TIMES model can be developed, after a proper design and implementation in order to support the requirement of dynamic, continuously updated NDCs, with targets continually enhanced over time. Furthermore, the model can support other pressing energy and environmental planning issues.

Note that although the TIMES-Starter example is a standardize national TIMES model it is a complicated model. Therefore, a team which is new to VEDA and TIMES should start with the DemoS training model (see the Documentation page), which introduces in a stepwise manner the basic characteristics of a TIMES model using VEDA.