European Journal of Operational Research, 2009, Vol. 196, No. 3, pp. 1202-1206In Europe, the auctions organized by “power exchanges” one day ahead of delivery are multi-unit, double-sided, uniformly priced combinatorial auctions. Generators, retailers, large consumers and traders participate at the demand as well as at the supply side, depending or whether they are short or long in electric energy. Because generators face nonconvex costs, in particular startup costs and minimum run levels, the exchanges allow “block orders” that are all-or-nothing orders of a given amount of electric energy in multiple consecutive hours, while the standard order consists of an amount for a single hour that can be curtailed. All exchanges restrict the size (MWh/h), the type (span in terms of hours) or the number (per participant per day) of blocks that can be introduced. This paper discusses the rationale of block order restrictions. Based on simulations with representative scenarios, it is argued that the restrictions could be relaxed, which some exchanges have already started doing.
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