Energy Technology Modelling

Course content

The training is designed to teach the principles and application of bottom-up energy system analysis for a portfolio of technologies. It focuses on the TIMES model for exploring least-cost, long-term strategies in a country’s or region’s energy sector. A combination of theory and practical exercises prepare participants to use TIMES in their home country, as well as to be able to design their own energy models.

The course covers the following elements:

  • Introduction to energy modelling - model types, benefits and limitations
  • Fundamentals of the TIMES energy model: mathematical approach, technology structure, time dimension and regions
  • Inputs and outputs of the TIMES model - data and equations for energy technologies and commodities
  • Power sector modelling - load curves, storage technologies, reserve capacity, CHP plants
  • Building multi-regional models and describing energy trade between regions
  • Analysing the results of a TIMES model - replicating result tables from the energy balance and interpreting the cost and price results

Why is this topic important?

Energy technology modelling is a powerful tool for supporting energy policy – from identifying effective policy interventions to assessing their actual impact on the energy system. Today’s models are complex and sophisticated and take into account a huge range of energy technologies and how different technology combinations will affect the entire system. This is particularly important when considering longer-term energy policy which typically aims to simultaneously ensure security of supply, affordable energy prices and reducing CO2 emissions at the lowest possible cost. Models such as TIMES (The Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System) are able to analyse energy systems at any level - local, national, regional, even global. Their main strength is in exploring the interdependencies between different sectors and technologies.

IEA’s credentials – why learn from us?

TIMES is the state-of-the-art in modelling energy technologies, used by more than 250 groups in 70 countries. Both TIMES and its predecessor MARKAL were developed through the IEA’s Energy Technology Systems Programme (ETSAP) set up move than 30 years ago. The IEA uses TIMES in its detailed global scenario analysis for the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) studies. The model is revised and updated regularly by a large network of collaborators in which the IEA plays a central role. The IEA and its partners hold regular training workshops around the world.

Who will benefit from this module?

This module is targeted at:

  • Energy analysts and other professionals with a strong background in energy economics or energy technologies

What will participants gain?

The course offers participants an introduction to bottom-up energy technology modelling and, in particular, familiarises them with the leading international TIMES model. Attending the course therefore provides a good foundation for future work in the field of energy modelling and scenario analysis. For participants who will not directly work with models, the course will provide a better understanding of the strengths and limitations of energy models and the results of scenario analysis based on them.

Module structure

Training Formats

Module Length

Group Size

  • Lectures, presentations and interactive discussions

  • Practical exercises - hands-on interaction with the TIMES model

  • Assignment (optional) – participants develop a basic energy model

Core module: 2 days

Extended module: 4 days (with modelling exercises)

20 people


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