The core PRIMES model

The PRIMES (Price-Induced Market Equilibrium System) is a large scale applied energy system model that provides detailed projections of energy demand, supply, prices and investment to the future, covering the entire energy system including emissions. The distinctive feature of PRIMES is the combination of behavioural modelling (following a micro-economic foundation) with engineering aspects, covering all energy sectors and markets. The model has a detailed representation of instruments policy impact assessment related to energy markets and climate, including market drivers, standards, and targets by sector or overall. It handles multiple policy objectives, such as GHG emissions reductions, energy efficiency, renewable energy targets and provides pan-European simulation of internal markets for electricity and gas.


PRIMES offer the possibility of handling market distortions, barriers to rational decisions, behaviours and market coordination issues and it had full accounting of costs (CAPEX and OPEX) and investment on infrastructure needs. The model covers the horizon up to 2070 in 5-year interval periods and includes all Member States of the EU28 individually and has also provided in the past detailed outlooks for Switzerland, Norway, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, FYROM and Kosovo as well. PRIMES is designed to analyse complex interactions within the energy system in a multiple agent – multiple markets framework.

Decisions by agents are formulated based on microeconomic foundation (utility maximization, cost minimization and market equilibrium) embedding engineering constraints and explicit representation of technologies and vintages; optionally perfect or imperfect foresight for the modelling of investment in all sectors.

PRIMES is well placed to simulate long term transformations for the long term transitions (rather than short term) and includes non-linear formulation of potentials by type (resources, sites, acceptability etc.) and technology learning

The linked models PRIMES, GEM-E3 and IIASA’s GAINS (for non-CO2 gases and air quality) perform energy-economy-environment policy analysis in a closed loop.

The full suite comprises the following models:

  • PRIMES-TREMOVE transport model: recently enhanced to include linkage to synthetic fuels and hydrogen and to detailed spatial projections of transport activity and route assignment by the forthcoming TRIMODE model
  • PRIMES BuiMo residential and services model: new model with high resolution representation of the housing and office building stock embedded in an economic-engineering model of multi-agent choice of building renovation, heating system and equipment/appliances by energy use
  • PRIMES-Industry model: recently enhanced version of the very detailed industrial model that includes a high resolution split of industrial consumption by sector and type of industrial process and now includes possibility of using hydrogen and synthetic fuels directly, extended possibilities of electrification and the possible emergence of non-fossil hydrocarbon feedstock in the chemicals
  • PRIMES Biomass supply model: detailed biomass supply model that includes land use constraints, many types of biomass and waste feedstock, sustainability regulation and endogenous learning and industrial maturity of a large number of potential biomass to biofuels conversion technologies; recently enhanced in the linkage with the IIASA models that handle LULUCF and forestry, as well as linkage with the agricultural model CAPRI
  • PRIMES Electricity and Heat/Steam supply and market model: fully new model version which includes the hourly unit commitment model -with pan-European market simulation over the grid constraints and detailed technical operation restrictions, the long-term power system expansion model, the costing and pricing electricity and grid model, the integration of heat supply and industrial steam supply with synchronised hourly operation
  • PRIMES Gas Supply and Market model: a stand-alone model representing in detail the gas infrastructure in the Eurasian and Middle-East area and the internal European market of gas within an oligopoly model embedding engineering gas flow modelling
  • PRIMES new Fuels and storage model covering Hydrogen, Synthetic fuels, Power-to-X, CO2 capture from the air and biogenic, CCS/CCU and process-emissions modelling to enhance and perform sectoral integration aiming at simulating a zero-CO2 system
  • PRIMES IEM model: a simulation tool for the internal energy market; it aims to simulate in detail the sequence of operation of the European electricity markets, namely the day-ahead market, the intraday and balancing markets and finally the reserve and ancillary ser-vices market or procurement.