An hourly electricity planning model

NATEM Power is a power sector capacity expansion and dispatch model. Leveraging load forecasts from NATEM, it performs least-cost optimization of the power sector. NATEM-Power ensures that electricity supply is sufficient to meet electricity demand at all hours of the year, for each jurisdiction, and over a long-term planning horizon.

Dynamic planning of electricity supply and demand

NATEM-Power serves to perform more detailed studies of the electricity sector, using an hourly time step at provincial or regional level. NATEM-Power is a standalone extension of NATEM: the two models can be coupled for an integrated co-analysis of economy-wide electrification and power sector planning. The model includes all existing generation plants, emerging electricity generation technologies, short and long duration storage technologies, and interties capacities. Fuels for electricity generation that are resource-limited are constrained to available quantities to ensure that the solution is achievable. The model can be run in different modes to meet the use case of interest: for example, capacity expansion and retirement can be flipped on to explore optimal opportunities for new storage technologies. The outputs of the model include marginal hourly electricity prices.

NATEM-Power is unique in its ability to consider endogenous electricity load forecasts and energy resource constraints, via coupling with an economy-wide optimization model NATEM. By analyzing scenarios representing different energy policies or environmental conditions, NATEM-Power serves as a robust planning tool with many possible applications.

The model can be applied to:

  • Assess electricity system robustness under uncertain environmental conditions and generator failure scenarios
  • Assess risks of net-zero on balancing the grid, including net-load
  • Evaluate optimal integration of load balancing solutions such as demand response and storage
  • Project future electricity prices, evaluate business opportunities and financial risk for distributed renewable generators
  • Understand opportunities for hydrogen production via electrolysis considering hourly electricity pricing and use of curtailed electricity
  • Study electricity policy impacts on the power sector and beyond
  • Analyze cost-optimal interties capacity expansion and trading behavior integrating multiple regional grids

A zoom on the sector critical to electrification

NATEM-Power and NATEM are linked in terms of electricity production and demand: electrical load projections from NATEM are disaggregated into hourly load by sub-sector based on province-specific typical load profiles. Dispatchable but limited resources generation such as biomass plants are constrained according to available fuel supply to account for economy-wide resource competition.

Future prices for energy commodities used as fuels for electricity generation like hydrogen and natural gas are calibrated with economy-wide results and global energy scenarios. This ensures that electricity sector planning is aligned with the future costs of these fuels considering total demand across the economy. All relevant energy policies affecting the power sector are represented, such as investment tax credits, renewable portfolio standards, regulations limiting fossil-fueled plants use, or demand response measures.

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