The AMES Wholesale Power Market Test Bed

A Free Open-Source Computational Laboratory
for the Agent-Based Modeling of Electricity Systems

Last Updated: 19 January 2019

Site Maintained By:
Leigh Tesfatsion
Research Professor, and
Professor Emerita of Economics, Mathematics,
   and Electrical & Computer Engineering
Heady Hall 260
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-1054
tesfatsi AT

Integrated T&D System Project
Electricity Market Open-Source Software
IEEE Task Force on Open-Source Software
Agent-Based Electricity Research
Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE)
AMES Test Bed Schematic

Software Release Disclaimer:
The AMES Market Package is our software implementation, in Java/Python, of the AMES Wholesale Power Market Test Bed. This software, provided below, is unsupported and provided as-is, without warranty of any kind.

Table of Contents:

AMES Software Overview

The wholesale power market design proposed by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in an April 2003 white paper [FERC 2003] encompasses the following core features:

Versions of FERC's wholesale power market design have been implemented (or scheduled for implementation) in U.S. energy regions in the Midwest (MISO), New England (ISO-NE), New York (NYISO), the mid-Atlantic states (PJMB), California (CAISO), the southwest (SPP), and Texas (ERCOT). Nevertheless, strong criticism of the design persists. Part of this criticism stems from the concerns of non-adopters about the suitability of the design for their regions due to distinct local conditions (e.g., hydroelectric power in the northwest). Even in regions adopting the design, however, criticisms continue to be raised about market performance.

One key problem for participants in wholesale power markets restructured in accordance with FERC's design is a lack of full transparency regarding market operations. Due in great part to the complexity of the market design in its various actual implementations, the business practices manuals and other public documents released by market operators are daunting to read and difficult to comprehend. Moreover, in some energy regions, data is only posted in partial and masked form with a significant time delay. The result is that many participants are wary regarding the efficiency, reliability, and fairness of market protocols (e.g., settlement practices and market power mitigation rules). Moreover, outsiders (e.g., university researchers) are hindered from subjecting the design to systematic testing in an open and impartial manner.

As elaborated in Sun and Tesfatsion (2007a), Sun and Tesfatsion (2007b), and Li, Sun, and Tesfatsion (2009), the AMES Wholesale Power Market Test Bed is being developed as a "simple but not too simple" computational laboratory for the systematic experimental study of wholesale power markets restructured in accordance with FERC's market design. AMES is an acronym for Agent-based Modeling of Electricity Systems.

Our objective is the facilitation of research, teaching, and training, not commercial-grade application. The open source release of AMES is intended to encourage the cumulative development of this test bed by others (as well as ourselves) in directions appropriate for their specific needs. It is also intended to encourage continual dialog with market stakeholders and regulators leading to successive refinements and improvements of the test bed.

To further these purposes, AMES V2.06 was constructed (in Java) to have an extensible modular architecture and an easily-navigated graphical user interface (GUI). Detailed materials about AMES V2.06 are provided below.

Subsequent major extensions of AMES V2.06 - namely, AMES V3.0 (Java) and AMES V4.0 (Java/Python) - have been released by the developers of these extensions at independent websites. Links to these independent websites are provided below. Descriptions of the new features in these AMES extensions can be found at the AMES Version Release History Site.

AMES Software Downloads and Supporting Materials

Important Note 1: Explanations of the modifications incorporated into successive AMES versions released to date can be obtained at the AMES Version Release History Site.

Important Note 2: International users should be aware that AMES uses U.S. formatting (points) for decimal separators, not commas; e.g., 30000.00 rather than 30000,00. Use of commas instead of points for decimals will result in incorrect outcomes and possibly also in error messages indicating "out of bound" numbers. As noted in Step 14 in the Basic AMES Instructions Manual (pdf,632KB), to avoid this problem some international users have reported they found it necessary to include one of the following instructions in the "VMOptions" tab: “-Duser.language=en –Duser.region=US” (Win OS); or “-Duser.language=en” (Mac OS).

AMES Market Package--Version 4.0 (Released 4/13/2017)

Eight-Zone ISO-NE Test System (Released 11/30/2015)

AMES Market Package--Version 3.0 (Released 12/16/2017)

AMES Market Package--Version 2.06 (Released 5/22/2013)