Joint project "Assessing future electricity markets"


The aim of the joint project, "Assessing future electricity markets", is to answer the following three main questions: 1. How will the Swiss and European electricity markets evolve if the existing market mechanism were to be perpetuated as is? 2. How will the market evolve if additional components are introduced? 3. How do future market models need to be structured in order to provide the "right" investment incentive?

Project description (ongoing research project)

"Energy Strategy 2050" envisages a shift from today’s financial support for renewable energy towards a steering mechanism with a tax on energy. Coherent climate and energy goals need to be developed in line with international targets. Due to a production mix dominated by intermittent and volatile energy sources, current market models will in the long run no longer deliver the right investment incentives for the electricity market.


The model framework developed within this project aims to address the challenge of the shift from today’s financial support for renewable energy through a feed-in remuneration system towards a steering mechanism based on political/regulatory acceptance and the construction times of new transmission lines. This will enable us to assess which topological modifications of the Swiss transmission network would be required and feasible over the course of the next few decades. This complex challenge is also addressed in the "Electricity Networks Strategy" of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), which is accompanying "Energy Strategy 2050" and calls for coherent future development scenarios, as well as detailed network and market modelling. The outcomes of the project should help to establish a social and political consensus by providing detailed and relevant impact analysis to stakeholders (e.g. electricity companies, non-electricity sectors, private consumers). Key project deliverables will facilitate, for example, an analysis of the feasibility of integrating renewable energy sources into the grid, and will provide input for the evaluation of grid development strategy scenarios). Thus the project may provide beneficial inputs for the involved stakeholders (i.e. Swissgrid, SFOE, market participants) by providing information about strategy development processes in the area of market development.


The results provide insights into the question of what future market models will be required for the second phase of "Energy Strategy 2050" after 2020, including their impacts, in order to deal with the uncertainty regarding the future development (market structure, technological change, economic growth, etc.).

Original title

Assessing Future Electricity Markets (AFEM)

Principal Investigators

Leader of the joint project

  • Dr. Christian Schaffner, Energy Science Center, ETH Zürich

Deputy leader of the joint project

  • Prof. Sebastian Rausch, Centre for Energy Policy Economics, ETH Zürich


The joint project consists of three research projects

Infrastructure for Future Electricity Markets (AFEM-INFRA)

  • Dr. Turhan Hilmi Demiray, Forschungsstelle Energienetze, ETH Zürich; Prof. Reza Abhari, Prof. Martin Raubal

Combining Electricity Models (AFEM-MODEL)

  • Prof. Hannes Weigt, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität Basel; Prof. Reza Abhari, Dr. Ndaona Chokani

FUTURE - Future Electricity Market Models

  • Prof. Sebastian Rausch, Centre for Energy Policy Economics, ETH Zürich; Dr. Jan Abrell, Dr. Christian Schaffner, Prof. Hannes Weigt



Further information on this content


Dr. Christian Schaffner Energy Science Center (ESC)
ETH Zürich
Sonneggstrasse 28 8092 Zürich +41 44 632 72 55

Products of the project