July 11, 2023

Modeling and Market Design Considerations for Conventional and Decarbonized Resources


The following paper reviews various market design issues that will need to be reconsidered due to anticipated changes in the resources that supply energy in wholesale electricity markets. As the energy supply continues towards decarbonization, the change in resource technologies will affect the fundamentals of production scheduling and the policies to address supply variability and uncertainty. We show through simple numerical examples that the existing market design approach based on fuel costs will result in $0/MWh prices with intermittent price spikes during reserve shortages, but that incorporating more granular reserve pricing, energy storage participation, and price-responsive demand participation can restore efficient market clearing with reasonable pricing outcomes. The market design approach fundamentally shifts from fuel based to opportunity cost based. We briefly review alternative market design frameworks that can support this shift, including intraday markets, decentralized markets, flexibility options, and swing contracts. Market designs may also be required to accommodate or support various out-of-market policies and agreements; ideally, these external factors can be integrated into the market design to facilitate efficient exchanges across longer time scales, between other markets, and in support of public policy goals. The paper concludes by discussing how decarbonization trends may affect the design and use of production cost models for short term operations and long term planning studies.

Published: July 11, 2023


Eldridge B.C., and A. Somani. 2022. Modeling and Market Design Considerations for Conventional and Decarbonized Resources Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.