University of California, Berkeley

Shmuel Oren

Dr. Shmuel S. Oren is the Earl J. Isaac Professor in the Science and Analysis of Decision Making in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at the University of California at Berkeley and former Chairman of that department.


He is a co-founder and the Berkeley site director, of PSerc – a multi-university Power Systems Research Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation and industry members since 1996. He has also been a member of the California ISO Market Surveillance Committee. Dr. Oren has expertise in Operations Research, particularly optimization, and in mathematical modeling and analysis of economic systems. Over the last three decades he focused on the development of analytical models and tools and on the design and economic analysis of market mechanisms and pricing strategies, in the context of the private and public sector and in regulated industries, particularly electric power. His work on power systems optimal scheduling, transmission planning, auction design, congestion management, transmission rights, generation adequacy mechanisms and design of ancillary service markets was adopted in restructured electricity markets in the US and abroad and influenced market design and regulatory policy. His recent research focuses on integration of renewable energy resources, demand response the impact of environmental regulation and optimization of power systems dispatch under uncertainty. He is also a co-PI on a DOE ARPA-E funded project, aimed at pioneering topology control in electric power dispatch, through optimal transmission line switching. He has served as a consultant on market design issues, to private and public organizations in the electricity industry in the US and abroad. Dr. Oren has published on the subjects of numerical optimization, nonlinear pricing and the application of such pricing in the context of telecommunications and electric power, incentive design, bidding, transmission pricing, electricity market restructuring, and has given numerous invited public lectures and tutorials worldwide on subjects addressing electric power markets. He hold B.Sc and M.Sc degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Technion in Israel and M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Engineering Economic Systems from Stanford University. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and Fellow of INFORMS.

Opportunities and Challenges for OR in Electricity Markets

Socio economic forces, technological developments and environmental considerations have led to restructuring of the electric power systems in part of the USA and in many systems worldwide, transforming them from vertically integrated regulated monopolies to competitive market based systems. From a supply chain perspective competitive electricity markets represent, perhaps, the most challenging supply chain. The commodity is non-storable; demand is uncertain and highly correlated with weather, all the demand must be satisfied instantaneously with a high level of reliability (one day in ten years criteria for involuntary load curtailment). In addition service is provided over a network that is prone to congestion, flows over transmission lines cannot be directly controlled as in a transportation system (flows follow Kirchhoff’s laws) and the market is encumbered by numerous externalities and market power. In spite of such obstacles there has been fascinating developments in the design and operations of competitive electricity markets over the last twenty years through the use of state of the art optimization tools and economic principles. This talk will describe some of the key challenges in designing and operating competitive electricity markets. I will review the basic elements and alternative approaches adopted in different systems and discuss what we have learned so far in this area. I will also discuss new challenges and opportunities due to massive integration of renewable resources, proliferation of storage devices, smart grid technologies, and electrification of the transportation sector.