Assessing Future Electricity Markets (AFEM)

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The primary objective of the Assessing Future Electricity Markets (AFEM) project and its three major subprojects (AFEM-INFRA, AFEM-MODEL, and AFEM-FUTURE) is to identify and evaluate the capabilities of numerous alternative designs for the future Swiss electricity market. These possible future markets will be assessed based on their performance and ability to achieve the targets set out in the Energy Strategy 2050 (ES2050) with an emphasis on the added flexibility requirements from expanded integration of renewable energy resources.

To answer the various research objectives on how the Swiss and European electricity markets should evolve, the AFEM project will develop a coherent and integrated modeling framework that combines a macro-economic analysis (AFEM-FUTURE), a robust dispatch model of the energy market operation (AFEM-MODEL), a detailed technological engineering network model (AFEM-INFRA), and a rigorous evaluation of renewable energy resource potentials (AFEM-INFRA). Such an integrated framework will address the shortcomings of research in this field and better evaluate solutions for the two primary challenges facing electric grid operators as they move toward renewable resources: (i) how can liberalized electricity markets provide proper economic incentives to achieve adequate investment in new generation capacity and (ii) to what extent are new sources of temporal and spatial flexibility needed to enable higher penetration levels of stochastic renewable resources.

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By integrating multiple modeling levels into a robust analysis platform, the AFEM project aims to answer the questions about short-term system flexibility and long-term resource adequacy for Switzerland while also including wider European influences.
The research conducted in AFEM-INFRA will utilize detailed GIS-based analysis to evaluate and optimize the wind and solar resource potentials as well as optimize the paths for potential new transmission lines. AFEM-INFRA will also use a comprehensive time-domain network model of the Swiss transmission system to assess the security and reliability of the grid infrastructure as well as evaluate the need for additional flexible generation resources and future transmission system improvements.
The AFEM-MODEL subproject will develop and use an advanced bottom-up electricity market model to assess the impacts of future scenarios on market operation and prices. Simultaneously, AFEM-MODEL will create and manage the linkages between the short-term network
model, medium-term market model, and long-term macro-economic model.
Finally, the AFEM-FUTURE subproject will investigate alternative market designs for Switzerland and the major European countries as well as utilize a top-down macro-economic general equilibrium model to evaluate the new market designs and optimize future capacity expansion.

afem - figure 1


Modern liberalized electric grids are beginning to integrate more renewable resources, which increases the burden on grid operators to ensure robust and reliable networks. The addition of stochastic renewable resources can create a need for more flexible generation resources as well as a need for adequate mechanisms to ensure capacity adequacy. To assess both of these issues, more cross-platform analysis is needed that can evaluate short-term reliability concerns, medium-term dispatch and price concerns, and long-term capacity expansion and market design concerns. For Switzerland, additional complexity arises from the centrally located and highly interconnected nature of the Swiss energy system.
The AFEM project aims to use Swiss-specific and European-wide models coherently integrated to achieve multi-temporal and multi-spatial evaluation of the future of the Swiss electricity supply system.

NRP 70

This research project is part of the National Research Programme "Energy Turnaround" (NRP 70) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Further information on the National Research Programme can be found at

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Sat Apr 29 13:16:50 CEST 2017
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