Create a new node

The energy system model is based on the JuMP optimization framework, so some basic knowledge on this Julia package is needed to implement a new technology node.

To create a new technology node named NewTechNode, we need to

  1. Implement a new struct (composite type), that is a subtypes of Node, Source, Sink, etc. Here, a central choice is to decide on what abstract node type to subtype to.
  2. Optional: implement the method
    variables_node(m, 𝒩ˢᵘᵇ::Vector{<:NewTechNode}, 𝒯, modeltype::EnergyModel)
    Implement this method if you want to create additional optimization variables for the new node. See how to create JuMP variables in the JuMP documentation.
  3. Implement the method
    create_node(m, n::NewTechNode, 𝒯, 𝒫, modeltype::EnergyModel)
    In this method the constraints for the new node are created. See how to create JuMP constraints in the JuMP documentation.

While step 1 is always required, it is possible to omit step 2 if no new variables are required. It is also possible to create unregistered variables for each instance of the node. This is however only advised if you do not need to access the value of the variables after the optimization.


When creating a new node type, you are free to change the field names to whatever name you desire. However, if you change the field names, there are several things to consider:

  1. Certain functions are used within the core structure of the code for accessing the fields. These functions can be found in the Public Interface.
  2. The function EMB.check_node conducts some checks on the individual node data. If the fields and structure from the reference nodes are not present, you also have to create a new function for your node.

Additional tips for creating new nodes

  1. If the NewNodeType should be able to include investments, it is necessary to i) call the function constraints_capacity_installed. and ii) have the field data. The function is used for dispatching on the constraints for investments while the field data is used for providing the InvestmentData.
  2. Emissions can be included in any way. It is however beneficial to reutilize the EmissionsData type to improve usability with other packages. This requries again the inclusion of the field data in NewNodeType. It is possible to also create new subtypes for EmissionsData as well as dispatch on the function constraints_data(m, n::Node, 𝒯, 𝒫, modeltype, data::Data).
  3. It is in a first stage not important to include functions for handling all possible TimeStructures, that is, e.g., RepresentativePeriods. Instead, and error can be provided if an unsupported TimeStructure is chosen.
  4. The existing reference nodes and their respectvve constraint functions can serve as idea generators.
  5. It is possible to include constraints that are coupled to another Node by introduing a field with the Node as type in the NewNodeType, e.g., a field node::Storage when you plan to include additional constraints including a Storage node.
  6. EnergyModelsBase utilize functions for accessing the fields of the individual nodes. These functions can be found in Functions for accessing fields of Node types. In general, these functions dispatch on abstract types.
  7. It is beneficial to include the fields input and output for the NewTechNode. This is not strictly required, but otherwise one has to provide new methods for the functions inputs() and outputs().

Advanced creation of new nodes

Step 3 in the procedure is not necessarily required. It is also possible to use the available constraint functions for the new node type. In this case, we have to first obtain an overview over the constraint functions called in

create_node(m, n::ParentNode, 𝒯, 𝒫, modeltype::EnergyModel)

in which ParentNode corresponds to the abstract type that is used as parent for the new NewTechNode. Subsequently, we can add a method to the existing constraint function which is called by the ParentNode. This constraint function has to dispatch on the created NewTechNode type.


It is in general advised to create a new function create_node(m, n::NewTechNode, 𝒯, 𝒫, modeltype::EnergyModel). The advantage here is that the user requires less understanding of the individual constraint functions. This may lead to repetetive code, but is the safer choice.

What abstract node type should you subtype to?

The choice of node supertype depends on what optimization variables you need for the constraints describing the functionality of the new node.

A new node is defined as a composite type (struct) and subtype of one of the standard node types,

Furthermore, we have the types

which correspond to a routing node (Availability) and a storage node (Storage).

The overall structure of the individual nodes can be printed to the REPL using the following code:

julia> using EnergyModelsBase
julia> const EMB = EnergyModelsBase
julia> using AbstractTrees
julia> AbstractTrees.children(x::Type) = subtypes(x)

julia> print_tree(EMB.Node)
├─ NetworkNode
│  ├─ Availability
│  │  └─ GenAvailability
│  ├─ RefNetworkNode
│  └─ Storage
│     └─ RefStorage
├─ Sink
│  └─ RefSink
└─ Source
   └─ RefSource

The leaf nodes of the above type hierarchy tree are composite types, while the inner vertices are abstract types. The chosen parent type of the NewNodeType node decides what optimization variables are created for use by default. You can find the created default optimization variables in Optimization Variables and Node types and respective variables. The main difference between the individual parent types is whether they have only an energy/mass output (Source), input and output (NetworkNode), or input (Sink). A more detailed explanation of the different abstract types can be found in Description of Technologies


As an example, you can check out how EnergyModelsRenewableProducers introduces two new technology types, a Source and a Storage.