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Aiming for Half Gets You to the Top: Winning PowerTAC 2020

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI,volume 12802)


The PowerTAC competition provides a multi-agent simulation platform for electricity markets, in which intelligent agents acting as electricity brokers compete with each other aiming to maximize their profits. Typically, the gains of agents increase as the number of their customers rises, but in parallel, costs also increase as a result of higher transmission fees that need to be paid by the electricity broker. Thus, agents that aim to take over a disproportionately high share of the market, often end up with losses due to being obliged to pay huge transmission capacity fees. In this paper, we present a novel trading strategy that, based on this observation, aims to balance gains against costs; and was utilized by the champion of the PowerTAC-2020 tournament, TUC-TAC. The approach also incorporates a wholesale market strategy that employs Monte Carlo Tree Search to determine TUC-TAC’s best course of action when participating in the market’s double auctions. The strategy is improved by making effective use of a forecasting module that seeks to predict upcoming peaks in demand, since in such intervals incurred costs significantly increase. A post-tournament analysis is also included in this paper, to help draw important lessons regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the various strategies used in the PowerTAC-2020 competition.


  • Electricity brokers
  • Trading agents
  • Bidding strategies

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  1. 1.

    It has to be clarified that opponent tariffs with unusual features were considered as “baits” and were not evaluated. Such features could be very high early withdrawal penalties, unusually high periodic payments, or values of rates.

  2. 2.

    The complete results of PowerTAC 2020 are in An executable version of the TUC-TAC 2020 agent can be retrieved from

  3. 3.

    Some specifics of their strategies were revealed during a post-tournament workshop.

  4. 4.

    This and subsequent figures (apart from Fig. 8) exclude the results of “Phoenix games” (see “categorization by balancing fees” below). The extraordinarily high fees paid by the agents in those games would just have added noise to the analysis.


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Correspondence to Stavros Orfanoudakis .

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Orfanoudakis, S., Kontos, S., Akasiadis, C., Chalkiadakis, G. (2021). Aiming for Half Gets You to the Top: Winning PowerTAC 2020. In: Rosenfeld, A., Talmon, N. (eds) Multi-Agent Systems. EUMAS 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12802. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-82253-8

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