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InfraFair: Model for infrastructure cost allocation

Dr. Luis Olmos Camacho, Mohamed Abbas Eltahir Elabbas

Introduction to the tool, methodology applied within it, and what to use it for

InfraFair is a modelling tool aimed at computing the allocation of the cost of energy infrastructure according to the economic use expected to be made by agents, driving efficient investment decisions. The modelling tool employs the Average Participations Method (APM) that allocates the cost based on the electrical usage that each agent makes of each infrastructure asset as a reasonable proxy to the benefits, the former obtained from the latter. The basic intuition behind the APM is that energy consumed by demands and produced by generators, as well as the responsibility for causing energy flows, can be assigned by employing a simple heuristic rule that only uses the actual pattern of flows in the infrastructure network.

The rule assumes that energy flows can be traced by supposing that at any network node, the inflows are distributed proportionally among the outflows. This is the so-called proportionality rule. Implicit in this rule is the assumption that energy does not flow in the opposite direction to that of the prevalent (net) flow over each asset, which, according to this assumption, is the only existing flow. Based on these assumptions, the method traces the flow of energy from individual sources to individual sinks in all the network assets.

InfraFair determines the network utilisation of agents, system operators and countries. Based on this utilisation and assuming that it reflects the economic benefits received by agents, it determines the responsibility of each agent in the construction of each element in the network. In order to reasonably reflect agent utilisation of infrastructure, multiple representative snapshots of annual network usage should be provided. InfraFair presents a decision support tool for tariff design for regional power transmission infrastructure, but it can be used for national infrastructure as well as other types of infrastructures operating on the same principle of flow (flow-based infrastructure), such as gas and hydrogen infrastructure. All assets that have a flow usage can be represented in the network model. For instance, the electrical network can include power lines, transformers, breaks, series capacitors and phase shifting transformers.

Main inputs and results produced by the tool

Inputs to the model must consist of the map of flows in each of the assets as well as the injections and withdrawals of energy at each node. Additionally, the rating capacity and the capital cost of each asset must be provided for the model to be able to allocate costs to network users. Other information, such as the voltage and the length of each asset, can be provided to produce optional categorised results. When provided with hourly representative snapshots of these inputs, InfraFair can calculate the outputs that follow (per snapshot and overall annual weighted average):

  • Individual agents’ flow and cost contributions for each asset in the network.
  • Individual countries’ flow and cost contributions for each asset in the network.
  • Individual agents’ and countries’ utilisation of each asset in the network.
  • Individual agents’ flow and cost global contributions of the set of grid assets of each type.
  • Individual countries’ flow and cost global contributions for all the grid assets of each type.
  • Individual agents’ and countries’ global utilisation of the grid assets of each type.
  • Individual agents’ total contribution to the recovery of the cost of the whole grid.
  • Individual agents’ and countries’ global utilisation measures for the whole network.
  • Individual countries’ total flow and cost of each other countries grid that they are responsible for.
  • Individual countries’ total flow and cost of the rest of the grid that they are responsible for.
  • Total flow and cost of the grid of each country that the rest of the countries are responsible for.

Research Projects

The model is currently being used in:

Quantitative assessment of Regional Cost Allocation Methods in the West African Power Pool developed for CESI S.p.A. July 2023 - July 2024 L. Olmos, M.A.E. Elabbas, S. Gómez Sánchez

Open Modelling Toolbox for development of long-term pathways for the energy system in Africa (OpenMod4Africa) developed for European Union. July 2023 - June 2026 L. Olmos, S. Lumbreras, A. Ramos, M.A.E. Elabbas.


Contact Us

Luis Olmos Camacho (olmos@comillas.edu)

Mohamed A.Eltahir Elabbas (mabbas@comillas.edu)

More information: https://infrafair.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html

Some related publications:

  • Olmos, L., & Perez-Arriaga, I. J. (2007). Evaluation of Three Methods Proposed for the Computation of Inter-TSO Payments in the Internal Electricity Market of the European Union. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 22(4), 1507–1522. 10.1109/TPWRS.2007.907118.