openCEM – a free, open-source Capacity Expansion Model

ITP has been granted $882,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Governments of NSW, Victoria and South Australia to develop an Open Source Grid Integration Modelling Tool.
The modelling tool will, for the first time, allow all stakeholders, including decision makers, energy system planners, regulators and project developers to freely undertake extensive scenario modelling that will provide insights into potential pathways for the evolution of the NEM from the present day to a low-carbon power system.

In particular, users will be able to examine the impact of:

  • a range of new policy or regulatory measures
  • economic factors such as technology costs or changes in fuel prices
  • technological change, including cost reduction and performance improvement of energy generation, transmission, storage and energy efficiency
  • specific large energy projects.

The development partners are:

ITP Analytics (a division of ITP Renewables)

  1. the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at UNSW
  2. the Climate and Energy College at the University of Melbourne
  3. the software development specialists ThoughtWorks
  4. US Strategic Energy Analysis Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Key features of the modelling tool include that:

  • it will be open source, allowing anybody to use the model freely and ensuring that the model results can be verified, reproduced and extended by interested stakeholders
  • it will use publicly available datasets for technology and fuel costs, electrical demand projections and renewable energy resources (i.e. wind and solar). Additional datasets can be incorporated by interested stakeholder
  • results for a range of scenarios will be displayed and shared by users using captivating visualisation techniques through a companion website.

An open beta version of openCEM was released in April 2019. Following that, Version 1 of the tool with revisions to include transmission constraint modelling was released in September 2019 and is available at

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