Researchers from universities worldwide are invited by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) this spring to participate in the annual Power Trading Agent Competition (Power TAC). While many simulations are viewed as games, this competition provides researchers with important data for managing future energy markets. Teams from around the world compete as ‘brokers’ in an online simulation of a real-world energy market.

Power TAC is both a competition and a form of open, modular research: a test bed for the design of power markets and trading strategies. The co-creation of Professor Wolf Ketter from RSM's Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business (ECFEB) and John Collins and Alok Gupta from the University of Minnesota, the competition is a form of competitive benchmarking, inviting top researchers from academia and industry to pit their agents against each other in a race for the most successful strategies.

Large-scale experimentation

Wolf Ketter: Power TAC models the high complexity of contemporary and future energy markets and thus provides a valuable way of testing potential scenarios for the energy networks of the future by allowing for large-scale experimentation. These regular competitions uncover strategies and interactions that no pilot project or single research group could have discovered.”

Several rounds of the online competition will be held over the spring and summer. The winner will be invite to present their findings at the Erasmus Energy Forum 2017 Science Day on 28 June 2017 in Rotterdam.

Robust research results exploring the structure and operation of retail energy markets can help steer future policy on how to manage these markets. It is all part of how the ECFEB aims to help the transition to renewable sources of energy.

Inside the competition

In Power TAC, competitors create trading agents to act as self-interested brokers that offer energy services to customers. Brokers are challenged to maximize their profits by buying and selling energy in the wholesale and retail markets, subject to fixed costs and constraints.

Retail brokers must also solve a supply chain problem in which the product is infinitely perishable and supply and demand must be exactly balanced at all times. The winner of each game is the broker with the highest bank balance at the end of a simulation run.

Performance criteria includes minimizing carbon emissions, maximizing the share of renewable energy, and other factors which can be converted to monetary units by introducing taxes and incentives as part of the market structure.

More information about the game and changes from last year's tournament, valuable for researchers interested in taking part, has been published in the IT services journal, MIS Quarterly.

Watch the video on the Power Tac Experience here.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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