What is GENESYS?

The GENESYS (Generation Evaluation System) model was developed to assess the adequacy of the Pacific Northwest regional power supply, given uncertain future conditions. It is also the primary analytical tool the Council uses to quantify the impacts of modifying hydroelectric system operations (e.g., to accommodate the changing needs of all river users). GENESYS is a constrained economic dispatch model that uses Monte Carlo sampling to assess the effects of uncertainty in demand, stream flows, wind and solar generation and generator forced outages. The model simulates the dispatch of hydroelectric projects and other generating resources in a multi-stage process to emulate real-life electric utility decision making and operations. 

Besides being used annually to determine if the regional supply is adequate, it also calculates the Adequacy Reserve Margin and the Associated System Capacity Contribution for new resources, which are  inputs to the Council’s Regional Portfolio Model (RPM) and are essential to ensuring that resource strategies in the Council’s power plan will provide adequate future power supplies.

Additionally, GENESYS is the primary model used to assess the impacts and costs of non-power related constraints placed on the operation of hydroelectric facilities. The majority of these constraints are intended to protect, mitigate and enhance fish and wildlife populations that could be threatened by the hydroelectric system. This type of analysis is critical toward the development of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program and has also proven to be very valuable in assessing the impacts of biological opinion directives related to the operation of the hydroelectric system.

GENESYS is also used extensively for climate change studies, for short-term extreme weather studies (e.g. very dry or very wet years) and to assess resource cost-effectiveness.

2021 Power Plan

Review how GENESYS was used in the 2021 Power Plan for extensive information on current modeling methodology. (February 2022)


GENESYS Redevelopment Project (2016-2019)


Project Information

The Seventh Power Plan identified the redevelopment of the GENESYS model as part of two Council action items (ANLYS-22 and ANLYS-23 - see below). The redevelopment of GENESYS is a collaborative effort between the Council, the Bonneville Power Administration, regional utilities and other interested parties.

Redevelopment Stakeholder Meetings

On the page for each meeting are links to watch a video of the session, as well as presentation slides and other material for review.

July 2018: Demonstration of Redeveloped GENESYS and discussion of methodology

August 2016: Project Approach, Draft Requirement Specifications

March 2016: Discussion of Existing Functionality and Strawman Proposals 

Key Improvements Proposed

  • Time-dependent nature of the hourly hydro capability – model cascading of multiple dams as part of the system dispatch (i.e. simulate plant-specific hourly dispatch as opposed to aggregate hourly hydro dispatch)
  • Interaction between assignment of reserves and system capacity – incorporate reserves into an optimized dispatch
  • Trade-off between decisions for economics and adequacy – improved market representation
  • Representation of limitations on operators in dispatching the system – add fuel accounting and forecast error

High Level Project Schedule

  • Spring/Summer/Fall 2016 - Develop redevelopment requirements
  • Winter 2016/2017 – Finalize plan for redevelopment
  • Winter/Spring 2017 - Issue RFP and select vendor
  • Spring/Summer 2017 - Finish GENESYS specifications and algorithms and begin code work and testing cycles working with vendor
  • Fall 2017 through 2019 - Vendor and Council Complete Redevelopment

Vendor selected by the Council: PSR, Inc. 




Redevelopment Request for Proposals (2017) 

Seventh Power Plan Action Plan Items Driving Redevelopment

ANLYS-22 - GENESYS Model Redevelopment

"The GENESYS model has been used extensively by the Council, Bonneville and others to assess resource adequacy. It contains, as one of its modules, Bonneville’s hydro regulation model (HYDROSIM). GENESYS has also been used to assess costs and impacts of alternative hydroelectric system operations (e.g. for fish and wildlife protection). It can be used to assess the effective load carrying capability of resources (e.g. wind and solar) and it can provide estimates of the impacts of potential climate change scenarios. The model, however, has components and file structures that are decades old. Because of the multiple uses of GENESYS and because it is a critical part of the Council’s process to develop the power plan, it should be redeveloped to bring the software code up to current standards, to improve its data management and to add an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI). The use of an outside contractor is likely the best course of action but options will be reviewed by the Council, Bonneville and the System Analysis and Resource Adequacy Advisory Committees. Recommendations will be made to the Council to decide on an appropriate approach given the funding available. This redevelopment should be completed in time for the next power plan"

ANLYS-23 - Enhance the GENESYS model to improve the simulation of hourly hydroelectric system operations

"Enhance the GENESYS model to improve the simulation of hourly hydroelectric system operations. [Council, Resource Adequacy Advisory Committee, Bonneville, Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee] The Council’s GENESYS model simulates the operation of the hydroelectric system plant-by-plant for monthly time steps. For hourly time steps, however, it simulates hydroelectric dispatch in aggregate. To do that, an approximation method is used to assess the aggregate hydroelectric system’s peaking capability. That method should be reviewed and enhanced to better simulate the hourly operation of the hydroelectric system. As a first step, the Resource Adequacy Advisory Committee should review real-time operations. In order to improve the Chapter 4: Action Plan nwcouncil.org/7thplan 4-28 simulation, it may be necessary to break up the aggregate hydroelectric system used for hourly simulations into two or three parts, reflecting the different conditions and operations on the Snake River and on the upper and lower Columbia River dams. This work may also require the use of an outside contractor. Any changes in the GENESYS model should be complete in time for the next power plan."

History of GENESYS

Utility planners have historically used a simple comparison between available resources and expected loads to determine whether the power supply has sufficient generating capability to provide adequate service to customers. This deterministic measure, commonly referred to as the load/resource balance, is still being reported in BPA’s White Book and PNUCC’s Northwest Regional Forecast reports. Since about 1999, however, it was becoming more apparent to planners that a better measure was needed. It was in that year that the Council, with help from other regional entities, developed the GENESYS model to provide a better estimate of the power supply’s adequacy.

GENESYS determines the likelihood that a future year’s power supply will be inadequate by simulating the operation of generating resources for that year thousands of times, each time varying the conditions under which that supply operates. The likelihood of experiencing a shortfall anytime during the year is referred to as the loss of load probability (LOLP) and the Council has set the maximum allowed value for the LOLP at 5 percent. In other words, as long as the LOLP remains at or below 5 percent, the power supply is deemed adequate.