Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Arun K. Somani


Over the last two decades, the electricity sector has been involved in a challenging restructuring process in which the vertical integrated structure (monopoly) is being replaced by a horizontal set of companies. The growing supply of electricity, flowing in response to free market pricing at the wellhead, led to increased competition. In the new framework of deregulation, what characterizes the electric industry is a commodity wholesale electricity marketplace. This new environment has drastically changed the objective of electricity producing companies. In the vertical integrated industry, utilities were forced to meet all the demand from customers living in a certain region at fixed rates. Then, the operation of the Generation Companies (GENCOs) was centralized and a single decision maker allocated the energy services by minimizing total production costs.

Nowadays, GENCOs are involved not only in the electricity market but also in additional markets such as fuel markets or environmental markets. A gas or coal producer may have fuel contracts that define the production limit over a time horizon. Therefore, producers must observe this price levels in these other markets. This is a lesson we learned from the Electricity Crisis in California. The Californian market's collapse was not the result of market decentralization but it was triggered by other decisions, such as high natural gas prices, with a direct impact in the supply-demand chain.

This dissertation supports generation asset business decisions -from fuel supply concerns to wholesale trading in energy and ancillary services. The forces influencing the value chain are changing rapidly, and can become highly controversial. Through this report, the author brings an integrated and objective perspective, providing a forum to identify and address common planning and operational needs.

The purpose of this dissertation is to present theories and ideas that can be applied directly in algorithms to make GENCOs decisions more efficient. This will decompose the problem into independent subproblems for each time interval. This is preferred because building a complete model in one time is practically impossible. The diverse scope of this report is unified by the importance of each topic to understanding or enhancing the profitability of generation assets. Studies of top strategic issues will assess directly the promise and limits to profitability of energy trading. Studies of ancillary services will permit companies to realistically gauge the profitability of different services, and develop bidding strategies tuned to competitive markets.


Copyright Owner

Guillermo Gutierrez-alcaraz



Date Available


File Format


File Size

248 pages