The OPTIMATE simulation platform captures the effect of variants in market designs related to EU market integration (capacity allocation and congestion management), operational rules and market instruments for generation. It also captures the retro-action of these variants on market players' behaviour. Market players are aiming at their own portfolio benefit maximisation: they indeed take opportunity of any flexibility authorised by market designs, the features of which, in Europe, are neither entirely uniform nor entirely coordinated between areas. The OPTIMATE simulator thus mimics the actual functioning of electricity markets. Market players and TSOs anticipate each other behaviour to take their own operational decisions, considering generation mix and forecast accuracy: a detailed model of market design variants and the modelling of market players’ behaviour with uncertain availability has thus been purposely built.
The design of the OPTIMATE simulation platform relies on three principles: modularity, real-time outcomes built in a stepwise process, interdependency of decisions by market players and TSOs dealt with a systematic assessment of reference forecast.
The OPTIMATE modularity is obtained considering that the different markets in the different timeframes (day-ahead, intraday and real-time). The different decision processes by each market player are designed as quasi-independent modules. Each module may then be fed by input assumptions or outputs from other modules.
The figure above illustrates the general modules processing in OPTIMATE simulator. For each daily computation, the “daily iteration” module is fed in with reference input data and output from the learning by-doing modules. Its outputs are processed into the “DA reserve requirements” module where the TSOs determine and reserve the required capacity amount in each control block. The TSOs then compute the day-ahead available transfer capacity (ATC) in the “cross-border limits to DA market” module. The market players then calculate their bids and offers knowing cross-border capacities and generation capacity out of the market for reserve requirements into the “Bids and offers to DA market” module. These bids and offers are then cleared in the “DA market coupling ” module. And the market players deduced their DA final programme (including their nominated cross-border flows) from the cleared volumes in the “DA final programme” module.
The DA final programme is processed into the “ID iteration” module. This module is performed each day in accordance with the features of intraday markets defined in the market design (continuous trading vs. discrete allocation of capacities, implicit allocation vs. explicit allocation of capacities…). The market players then build their expectation for the coming hours of the intraday market. In particular, the TSOs may update the cross-border capacities intraday compared to the cross-border capacities which are issued day-ahead. The market players then calculate their bids and offers from these cross-border capacities and their previous decisions. These bids and offers are then cleared. These three sets of actions (intraday capacity allocation by TSOs, bids and offers calculation by marketers, and market clearing) are realised in the “ID market” module. The results are then fed in the “ID balancing” module where market players propose upwards and downwards offers for the balancing mechanism and where TSOs may decide to rely on delayed reserves to balance the system. Congestion appearing in real-time is then dealt by TSOs in the “RT congestion removal” module. Each TSO then clears its “RT balancing” module and then the “Imbalance and settlements” module where the imbalances are computed and the market players must pay for those.
The result is sent back to the “ID iteration” module to feed the ID and balancing modules of the coming hour and to feed also the “learning-by-doing” module. At last, the “learning-by-doing” module allows market players and TSOs to adapt their behaviours in the following iterations by considering the market outcomes of their previous decisions. TSOs and market players have a reference forecast before each day and each timeframe within each day. The previously mentioned chicken and egg dilemma (TSOs needing the marketers schedules to compute the required reserves and transmission capacity and the market players needing these inputs to compute their bids and so their programs) is tackled. The OPTIMATE process is thus able to capture market player’s anticipation of the impact of TSOs’ and power exchanges (PX)’ actions (here PX are implicitly bundled with the TSOs).
The prototype OPTIMATE platform is accessible since April 2013 via a web client  to make its use easy, in a configuration where only the day ahead modules are accessible in the operational version :
the computations are thus centralized,
there is no compatibility problem between the platform and the operating systems of the clients,
the simulations are easy to schedule and can be run in parallel without consuming the client in-house IT resources,
the users have no need to update the software because the latest functional version is always available.
Three validation studies have been performed to validate the prototype platform capabilities. The first study deals with market closure conditions (day-ahead closure time) and load flexibility; the second study compares the net transfer capacity (NTC) and the zonal flow-based (FB) cross-border management methods; the third study compares the feed-in tariffs (FIT) and the price premium (PP) renewable energy support schemes.
Twelve partners were involved within the OPTIMATE project, under the technical management of RTE and the overall coordination of Technofi:
- Elia, Belgium (TSO)
- TransnetBW, Germany (TSO)
- REE, Spain (TSO)
- RTE, France (TSO)
- 50 Hertz Transmission, Germany (TSO)
- Armines, France
- University of Leuven, Belgium
- Technical University of Denmark
- University of Madrid-Comillas, Spain
- University of Manchester, UK
- European University Institute, Italy
- Technofi, France.
This project article is linked with the following knowledge articles:
 Maintained by RTE within a contract and license fees which can be requested at http://www.optimate-platform.eu/
 The real time module is scheduled to be available by end 2013