EPIS Releases Mexico Database for Use with AURORAxmp

Database will provide power market simulation, forecasting and analysis for Mexico and borders

Salt Lake City, Utah – October 26, 2016


EPIS, the market leader in power market simulation, forecasting and analysis, has released the Mexico Wholesale Market (Mercado Eléctrico Mayorista – MEM) database.  The database will be offered as an upgrade or add-in to its industry-leading AURORAxmp software.

Users of the AURORAxmp software, which is known for delivering unparalleled forecasting and analytical productivity, ease of use and support, will now have access to high quality MEM data, pulled from trusted sources. The AURORAxmp MEM database will be regularly updated to reflect the most recent PRODESEN assumptions from SENER and other key sources including: CENACE data, and analyst experience with CFE and other IPPs in Mexico.

“Recent and ongoing energy market reforms in Mexico, coupled with growth expectations, are creating significant investment opportunities in electric power generation and transmission infrastructure. The most recent PRODESEN (2016-2030) report estimates approximately $90B (USD) in generation investment opportunities and $25B (USD) in transmission and distribution investment opportunities,” said Ben Thompson, CEO of EPIS. “Our MEM database allows users of AURORAxmp to forecast and do market simulations, taking into account this important market.”

It is critical that data sources represent the current state of the National Electricity System and its expected evolution over the next 15 or 20 years. These sources need to be updated regularly, scrubbed to fill in gaps and reflect operational realties, and are tested and calibrated in models so it is trustworthy and commercially reliable. The MEM database offers this needed level of quality.

The AURORAxmp MEM database is formatted, tested, and immediately ready to use for high-quality valuations, market analysis (including energy and capacity), as well as congestion and risk analysis of Mexican power markets. It offers cross-border analysis with boundary zones, including Belize, Guatemala, ERCOT (TX), WECC (AZ) and WECC (CAISO).

The AURORAxmp MEM Database includes primary Mexican power grids, including:

  • Sistema Interconectado Nacional (SIN)
  • Baja California (BCA)
  • Baja California Sur (BCS)

The systems are fully represented by 53 zones that align with PRODESEN and include “proxies” for transmission with boundary zones like Belize, Guatemala, ERCOT (TX), WECC (AZ) and WECC (CAISO).

Our product contains the best available data, refined to represent the current system’s operational realities and market including:

  • Gas constraints
  • Hydro conditions
  • Policy initiatives, including clean energy goals
  • Well-documented sources

Highlights include:

  • Generation: Approximately 800 operational generators, with another 150 in advanced development (construction or LT auction winners), including supporting hourly wind and solar profiles for each zone
  • Fuel prices, including Mexico natural gas hubs Mexico diesel prices (driven to an extent by U.S. imports), Houston Ship Channel, Henry Hub, South Texas, Waha, SoCal Border and distillate/residual fuel oil (FO2/FO6), coal and diesel from U.S. EIA, adjusted for Mexican transport costs
  • Transmission: inter-zonal transfer limits (links) and underlying physical lines, with resistance values, from which loss assumptions can be derived

As with any AURORAxmp database, users can expect the highest level of software integration, model control and easy data exchange. Users can easily import and overlay their own assumptions and other data sources for more powerful, customized insights.

About EPIS

EPIS, LLC (www.epis.com) is the developer of AURORAxmp, the leading-edge software for forecasting wholesale power market prices. The company also provides ready-to-use data for North America and Europe, and unrivaled customer support to its growing body of customers worldwide. A variety of organizations-including utilities (large and small), independent power producers (IPPs), developers, traders, energy consultants, regulatory agencies and universities-use AURORAxmp to model power system dispatch and the formation of both nodal and zonal wholesale power prices, and to perform a wide range of associated analytics over the short- and long-term. AURORAxmp is a comprehensive solution to power market modeling needs. Offices are located in Salt Lake City, UT, Tigard, OR and Sandpoint, ID.

Filed under: Data Management, Mexico Power MarketTagged with: , , ,

EIA Eases Data Accessibility for Power Modelers

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has long been a key source for electrical market data. In the past, much of the EIA’s data have been useful for long-term planning, but have suffered from long lag times and cumbersome manual downloads. Some data have not been published until months or even years after the time period they describe. For example, a generator which began operating in May of 2012 might not have appeared in the EIA’s primary resource list (the EIA-860) until October or November of 2013. Historically, these issues have limited the usefulness of EIA data for many modeling purposes.

However, over the last 2 years, the EIA has made several improvements to the management and delivery of their datasets which some longtime modelers may not be aware of. These enhancements include the EIA-860M, the new Excel Add-in, and the U.S. Electric System Operating Data application. Together, these enhancements greatly expand the list of tasks for which EIA data may be useful.

Form 860M

The EIA-860 is a comprehensive list of grid-connected generators in the U.S. with capacity greater than 1 MW. No data set is perfect, but the EIA-860 has characteristics which are attractive to anyone concerned with data quality. EIA-860 data are collected directly from plant owners who are legally required to respond, it is expressed in consistent terms nationwide, and it is vetted by EIA staff prior to release. While thorough and generally accurate, this process is slow and has only been conducted once each year, leading to lag times of 10-22 months.

In July of 2015, the EIA quietly started publishing data from a new monthly survey, the EIA-860M. This survey is sent to plant owners which reported capacity coming online or retiring in the near future as reported in the most recent EIA-860. The EIA-860M keeps track of these expected changes, and gives plant owners a chance to update the EIA on their progress mid-year. Much of this information has previously been available through the Electric Power Monthly reports, but the EIA-860M combines these data with similar information from the full EIA-860 to create a comprehensive list of active generators. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with the EIA-860M:

  • It includes a smaller set of unit characteristics than the full EIA-860
  • It has a lag of 2-3 month, so responses for May are posted late-July
  • Like the EIA-860, the Retired list for the EIA-860M is not comprehensive. Only entities with operating plants are required to file with the EIA. So, if a company shuts down its last plant, it no longer responds to the EIA-860 or EIA-860M surveys, and its retired plants will not show up in the Retired list
  • Unlike the EIA-860, the EIA-860M is not vetted prior to release. In order to maintain a timely publishing schedule, the EIA-860M is posted “as-is” and is subject to update without notification

Despite these limitations, the EIA-860M is a relatively thorough and current census of existing and planned generating capacity in the US. It is a welcome addition to the EIA’s current offerings.

Electric System Operating Data

The EIA has taken their first step into the world of intra-day reporting with the new U.S. Electric System Operating Data viewer. While the tool is still in Open Beta, and comes with a fair number of known issues, it promises to be an excellent source for very near-term information about the bulk electrical grid of the U.S.


Figure 1: EIA Operating Data – Status Map

Since July of 2015, the EIA has been collecting hourly data from all 66 Balancing Authorities operating in the U.S., including:

  • Day-ahead demand forecasts
  • Actual demand
  • Net generation
  • Interchange with surrounding Balancing Authorities

When everything is working smoothly, the EIA posts these data with a lag of only 80 minutes! These same data are available for download in table form and include API codes for pulling them directly into an Excel workbook using the add-in described below. The EIA also includes a series of pre-made charts and reports on daily supply-demand balance, discrepancies between forecast and actual demand, and much more.

Even for long-term planners, the new datasets collected by the EIA will likely be useful. Never before has the EIA published such granular demand and interchange data. The interchange data in particular has historically been very difficult to find from a publicly available source. Also, Balancing Authorities are much more useful footprints for modeling purposes than states, which is how the EIA partitions much of their information currently. Although it is still in its infancy, the Electric System Operating Data tool promises to open many avenues of analysis which were previously infeasible.

Excel Add-in

Released in February of 2015, the EIA Excel Add-in is useful for importing frequently updated data series into an existing process. While the EIA Interactive Table Viewer is handy for browsing and pulling individual data series, the data almost always need some sort of manipulation or conversion before being input into production cost models such as AURORAxmp. Whether you are converting between nominal and real dollars, changing units, extrapolating growth rates, or combining EIA data with other sources, a series of computations are usually required between raw data and useful inputs. The new Excel add-in allows a user to construct an Excel workbook with all the necessary conversions which can be updated to the latest EIA data with a single click.


Figure 2: EIA Excel Add-in Ribbon

Economic data series from the St. Louis Federal Reserve are also available through the same add-in, allowing the user to pull in indicators such as inflation or exchange rates alongside energy-specific data from the EIA. Not only does this save time, it ensures that the correct data series is queried each time the data are updated.

The EIA has always been a key data source for energy analysts, and they are rapidly evolving to become even better. Staying up to date with their latest offerings can reveal relatively easy solutions for some of the toughest data management and upkeep issues encountered by power system modelers.

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