UK Imbalance Price Forecasting using Keras & TensorFlow

Previously I introduced a feedforward neural network model built using scikit-learn in Python. This post details an upgraded version which utilizes Keras, TensorFlow and Plotly.

Keras is a more flexible package for building neural networks. It has the ability to train models on GPU by using Google’s Tensorflow as the backend. I still use useful scikit-learn functions for splitting data into cross-validation and test/train sets.

As I’m becoming more comfortable with Python the quality of these scripts is improving. I’m using list comprehensions and lambda functions to make my code faster and cleaner. It’s a great feeling to rewrite parts of the script using new knowledge.

The full code is available on my GitHub repository for this project – I will also include a copy in this post.  The script philosophy is about running experiments on model structure and hyperparameters.

Features of this script

I needed to use a few workarounds to get TensorFlow to train models on the GPU.  First I had to install the tensorflow-gpu package (not tensorflow) through pip.  I then needed to access the TensorFlow session through the back end:

import keras.backend.tensorflow_backend as KTF

We also need to wrap our Keras model with a statement that sets the TensorFlow device as the GPU:


Finally I modify the Tensorflow session:

KTF.set_session(, log_device_placement=False)))

These three things together got my Keras model training on my GPU.

Another workaround I had to include was a way to reset Keras models. I use K-fold cross validation to tune model hyperparameters. This leaves the test set free for use only in determining the generalization error of the model. It is bad machine learning practice to use the test set to tune hyperparameters.

K-fold cross-validation uses a loop to iterate through the training data K times. I found was the model weights were not being reset after each loop – even when I used a function to build & compile the model outside of the loop. The solution I used involves storing the initial weights then randomly permutating them each time we call the function.

The previous scikit-learn script used L2-regularization to control overfitting. In this new version I make use of a Keras dropout layer. Dropout randomly ignores selected neurons during training.

This means that their contribution to the activation of downstream neurons is removed on the forward pass. Any weight updates will not be applied to the neuron on the backwards pass. This should result in the network being less sensitive to the specific weights of neurons.

I’ve also made this script create new folders for each experiment and each individual model run. For each run this script saves the features and a plot of the forecast versus the actual value.

For the experiment it saves the results (MASE, MAE, training loss etc) for all runs and a plot of the training history for each run.

The last major step I have taken is starting to use Plotly. Plotly allows saving of interactive graph objects as HTML documents and uploading of graphs to their server. This has been a major step up from matplotlib as the graphs created are interactive.

Model Results

The next few posts in this series will be using this script to optimize the structure and hyperparameters.

The first experiment I ran was on activation functions.  The following parameters were used:

  • 2016 Imbalance Price & Imbalance Volume data scraped from Elexon
  • Feature matrix of lag 48 of Price & Volume & Sparse matrix of Settlement Period, Day of the week and Month
  • 8 layer neural network:
    • Input layer with 1000 nodes, fully connected
    • Dropout layer after input layer with 30 % dropout
    • Five hidden layers with 1000 nodes, fully connected
    • Output layer with 1000 nodes, single output node
    • Loss function = mean squared error
    • Optimizer = adam

I ran four experiments with different activation functions (the same function in each layer).

Table 1 – Experiment on activation functions (MASE = Mean Absolute Scaled Error)
Activation FunctionTraining MASETest MASETraining Loss

Table 1 clearly shows that the rectifier (relu) activation function is superior for this task.

I ran a second experiment changing the data included in the feature matrix.  The sparse features are boolean variables for the Settlement Period, the day (Monday – Sunday) and the month.  These are included so that the model can capture trend and seasonality.

The models I ran in this experiment use the same parameters as Experiment One – except the data included in the feature matrix is changed:

  1. Lagged Imbalance Price only
  2. Lagged Imbalance Price & Imbalance Volume
  3. Lagged Imbalance Price & Sparse Features
  4. Lagged Imbalance Price, Imbalance Volume & Sparse features
Table 2 – Experiment on data sources (MASE = Mean Absolute Scaled Error)
Price only0.250.500.460.0%
Price & volume0.210.490.473.5%
Price & sparse0.170.500.490.7%
Price, volume & sparse0.150.470.456.1%

As expected increasing the amount of data for the model to learn from improves performance.  It’s very interesting how the improvement for Run 4 is more than the sum of the improvements for Runs 2 & 3!

It’s also a validation that the feature data has been processed correctly.  If the results got worse it’s because either a mistake was made during processing

Table 2 shows a large difference between the Training & Test MASE.  This indicates overfitting – something we will try to fix in future experiments by working with model structure and dropout.

So conclusions from our first two experiments – use the relu activation function and put in as many useful features as possible.

A quick look at the forecast for Run 4 of Experiment Two for the last few days in December 2016:

Figure 1 – The forecast versus actual Imbalance Price for the end of 2016

Click here to interact with the full 2016 forecast.

Next Steps

I’ll be doing more experiments on model structure and hyperparameters.  Experiments I have lined up include:

  • Model structure – number of layers & nodes per layer
  • Dropout fraction
  • Size of lagged data set

I’ll also keep working on improving the quality of code!

The Script

ADG Efficiency

This model runs experiments on model parameters on a neural network.
The neural network is built in Keras and uses TensorFlow as the backend.

To setup a model run you need to look at
- mdls_D
- mdls_L
- machine learning parameters
- pred_net_D

This script is setup for an experiment on the types
of data used as model features.

This model is setup to run an experiment on the sources of data.

import os
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
import sqlite3
import pickle
import datetime

# importing some useful scikit-learn stuff
from sklearn.preprocessing import StandardScaler
from sklearn.preprocessing import LabelBinarizer
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.model_selection import KFold

# importing Keras & Tensorflow
from keras.models import Sequential
from keras.layers import Dense, Dropout
from keras.optimizers import adam, RMSprop, SGD
from keras.metrics import mean_absolute_error
import keras.backend.tensorflow_backend as KTF #!topic/keras-users/MFUEY9P1sc8

import tensorflow as tf

# importing plotly
import plotly as py
import plotly.graph_objs as go 
import as tls 
tls.set_credentials_file(username="YOUR USERNAME", api_key="YOUR API KEY")

# imported from another script 
from metrics import MASE 

# workaround found on stack overflow
tf.python.control_flow_ops = tf 

# grabbing the TF session from Keras backend
sess = KTF.get_session() 

# function that inputs the database path 
def get_data(db_path,table):
 conn = sqlite3.connect(db_path)
 data = pd.read_sql(sql='SELECT * from ' + str(table),con = conn)
 print('got sql data')
 return data # returns a df with all table data

# setting base directory
base_path = os.path.dirname(os.path.abspath(__file__))

# location of SQL database 
sql_path = os.path.join(base_path,'data','ELEXON DATA.sqlite')
# saving run time for use in creating folder for this run of experiments
run_name = str(
run_name = run_name.replace(':','-')
run_path = str('Experiment Results//' + run_name)
results_csv_path = os.path.join(base_path, run_path, 'results.csv')
history_csv_path = os.path.join(base_path, run_path, 'histories.csv')

# dictionary containing all of the infomation for each report
data_price_D = {'Imbalance Price':{'Report name':'B1770','Data name':'imbalancePriceAmountGBP'}}

data_price_vol_D = {'Imbalance Price':{'Report name':'B1770','Data name':'imbalancePriceAmountGBP'},
 'Imbalance Volume':{'Report name':'B1780','Data name':'imbalanceQuantityMAW'}}

# list of model names - done manually to control order & which models run
mdls_L = ['price, vol & sparse'] # 'price only', 'price & volume', 'price & sparse', 

# dictionary of mdls with parameters
# FL = first lag. LL = last lag. SL = step size, 
# Sparse? = to include sparse data for trend/seasonality or not, 
# Data dict = which dictionary of data to use for the lagged time series
mdls_D = {'price only':{'date_start':'01/01/2016 00:00','date_end':'31/12/2016 00:00','FL':48,'LL':48*2,'SL':48,'Sparse?':False,'Data dict' : data_price_D},
'price & volume':{'date_start':'01/01/2016 00:00','date_end':'31/12/2016 00:00','FL':48,'LL':48*2,'SL':48,'Sparse?':False,'Data dict' : data_price_vol_D},
'price & sparse':{'date_start':'01/01/2016 00:00','date_end':'31/12/2016 00:00','FL':48,'LL':48*2,'SL':48,'Sparse?':True,'Data dict' : data_price_D},
'price, vol & sparse':{'date_start':'01/01/2016 00:00','date_end':'31/12/2016 00:00','FL':48,'LL':48*2,'SL':48,'Sparse?':True,'Data dict' : data_price_vol_D}}

# machine learning parameters
n_folds = 10 # number of folds used in K-fold cross validation
epochs = 200 # number of epochs used in training 
random_state_split = 5
random_state_CV = 3

# dataframes for use in tracking model results
results_cols = ['Model name','CV MASE','Training MASE','Test MASE','MASE',
 'Training MAE','Test MAE','MAE','CV Loss','Training Loss',
 'Training History','Error Time Series']
results_DF = pd.DataFrame(columns = results_cols)
results_all_DF = results_DF 
history_all_DF = pd.DataFrame()

# for loop to iterate through models
for mdl_index, mdl in enumerate(mdls_L):
 mdl_params = mdls_D[mdl]
 # resetting dataframes for storing results from this model run
 results_DF = pd.DataFrame(index = [mdl], columns = results_cols)
 history_DF = pd.DataFrame()

 # creating folder for this run
 exp_path = str(run_path + '/' + str(mdl))

 # setting model parameters
 date_start = mdl_params['date_start']
 date_start = mdl_params['date_end']
 first_lag = mdl_params['FL']
 last_lag = mdl_params['LL']
 step_lag = mdl_params['SL']
 include_sparse = mdl_params['Sparse?']
 data_D = mdl_params['Data dict']
 # unpacking dictionary of data to be used 
 data_sources = [key for key in data_D] # ie Imbalance Price, Imbalance Volume
 # getting the imbalance price first
 if data_sources[0] != 'Imbalance Price':
 price_loc = data_sources.index('Imbalance Price')
 first_source = data_sources[0]
 data_sources[price_loc] = first_source
 data_sources[0] = 'Imbalance Price'

 table_names = [data_D[item]['Report name'] for item in data_sources] 
 data_col_names = [data_D[item]['Data name'] for item in data_sources]
 # getting data from SQL
 data_L = [get_data(db_path = sql_path, table = data_D[data_source]['Report name']) for data_source in data_sources]

 # list of the index objects
 indexes_L = [pd.to_datetime(raw_data['index']) for raw_data in data_L] 
 # list of the settlement periods
 SP_L = [raw_data['settlementPeriod'] for raw_data in data_L]

 # list of the actual data objects
 data_objs_L = [raw_data[data_col_names[index]].astype(float) for index, raw_data in enumerate(data_L)]
 # indexing these data objects
 for i, series in enumerate(data_objs_L):
 df = pd.DataFrame(data=series.values, index=indexes_L[i],columns=[])
 data_objs_L[i] = df

 # creating feature dataframe - gets reset every model run
 data_DF = pd.DataFrame()
 for data_index, data_obj in enumerate(data_objs_L):
 # creating lagged data frame (make this a function)
 for i in range(first_lag,last_lag,step_lag):
 lag_start, lag_end, lag_step = 1, i, 1
 # creating the lagged dataframe
 data_name = data_obj.columns.values[0]
 lagged_DF = pd.DataFrame(data_obj)
 for lag in range(lag_start,lag_end+1,lag_step):
 lagged_DF[str(data_name) + ' lag_'+str(lag)] = lagged_DF[data_name].shift(lag) 
 lagged_DF = lagged_DF[lag_end:] # slicing off the dataframe
 index = lagged_DF.index # saving the index 
 data_DF = pd.concat([data_DF,lagged_DF],axis=1) # creating df with data 
 SP = SP_L[0] 
 SP = SP[(len(SP)-len(data_DF)):].astype(float) # slicing our settlement periods 
 # creating our sparse matricies for seasonality & trend
 date = index
 # creating label binarizer objects 
 encoder_SP = LabelBinarizer(neg_label=0, pos_label=1, sparse_output=False)
 encoder_days = LabelBinarizer(neg_label=0, pos_label=1, sparse_output=False)
 encoder_months = LabelBinarizer(neg_label=0, pos_label=1, sparse_output=False)
 # creating sparse settelment period feature object
 encoded_SP = encoder_SP.transform(SP)
 SP_features = pd.DataFrame(encoded_SP, index, columns = list(range(1,51)))
 # creating sparse day of the week feature object
 days = list(map(lambda x: x.weekday(), date))
 encoded_days = encoder_days.transform(days)
 days_features = pd.DataFrame(encoded_days, index = index, 
 columns = ['Mo','Tu','We','Th','Fr','Sa','Su'])
 # creating sparse month feature object
 months = list(map(lambda x: x.month, date))
 encoded_months = encoder_months.transform(months)
 months_features = pd.DataFrame(encoded_months, index = index, 
 columns = ['Ja','Feb','Mar','Ap','Ma','Jun','Jul','Aug','Sep','Oct','Nov','Dec'])
 sparse_features = pd.concat([SP_features,days_features, months_features],axis=1) 
 print('incl sparse is ' + str(include_sparse))
 if include_sparse == True:
 print('including sparse')
 data_DF = pd.concat([data_DF,sparse_features],axis=1)
 # saving our feature matrix to a csv for checking
 features_path = os.path.join(base_path, exp_path, 'features.csv')
 # creating our target matrix (the imbalance price)
 y = data_DF['imbalancePriceAmountGBP']
 # dropping out the actual values from our data
 for data_col_name in data_col_names:
 data_DF = data_DF.drop(data_col_name,1)
 # setting our feature matrix 
 X = data_DF
 # splitting into test & train
 # keeping the split the same for different model runs
 X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X, y, test_size=0.30, random_state = random_state_split)
 split_D = {'X_train' : len(X_train), 'X_test' : len(X_test)}
 # standardizing our data 
 X_scaler = StandardScaler()
 X_train = X_scaler.fit_transform(X_train)
 X_test = X_scaler.transform(X_test)
 X_all = X_scaler.transform(X)
 # reshaping
 X_train = np.asarray(X_train)
 y_train = np.asarray(y_train).flatten()
 X_test = np.asarray(X_test)
 y_test = np.asarray(y_test).flatten()
 X = np.asarray(X) # not sure if I use this anywhere - also this data is not standardized 
 y = np.asarray(y).flatten()
 # saving our scaler objects for use later
 pickle.dump(X_scaler, open(os.path.join(base_path,'pickle', 'X_scaler - ' + mdl + '.pkl'), 'wb'), protocol=4) 
 # length of the inputs
 training_samples = X_train.shape[0]
 input_length = X_train.shape[1] # should probably rename this to width....
 batch_size = int(training_samples/4)

 pred_net_D = {'price only':{'Layer 1' : Dense(1000, input_dim = input_length, activation = 'relu'), 'Layer 2' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 3' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 4' : Dense(output_dim = 1, activation='linear'),'Dropout fraction':0.3},
 'price & volume':{'Layer 1' : Dense(1000, input_dim = input_length, activation = 'relu'), 'Layer 2' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 3' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 4' : Dense(output_dim = 1, activation='linear'),'Dropout fraction':0.3},
 'price & sparse':{'Layer 1' : Dense(1000, input_dim = input_length, activation = 'relu'), 'Layer 2' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 3' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 4' : Dense(output_dim = 1, activation='linear'),'Dropout fraction':0.3}, 
 'price, vol & sparse':{'Layer 1' : Dense(1000, input_dim = input_length, activation = 'relu'), 'Layer 2' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 3' : Dense(1000, activation='relu'), 'Layer 4' : Dense(output_dim = 1, activation='linear'),'Dropout fraction':0.3} 
 # defining layers for prediction network
 pred_net_params = pred_net_D[mdl]
 layer1 = pred_net_params['Layer 1']
 layer2 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer3 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer4 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer5 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer6 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer7 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer8 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer9 = pred_net_params['Layer 2']
 layer10 = pred_net_params['Layer 4']
 dropout_fraction = pred_net_params['Dropout fraction'] 

 with'gpu:0'): # force tensorflow to train on GPU
 KTF.set_session(, log_device_placement=False)))
 def get_model(): # use this function so I can recreate new network within CV loop
 network = Sequential() 
 return network
 def shuffle_weights(model, weights=None):
 """Randomly permute the weights in `model`, or the given `weights`.
 This is a fast approximation of re-initializing the weights of a model.
 Assumes weights are distributed independently of the dimensions of the weight tensors
 (i.e., the weights have the same distribution along each dimension).
 :param Model model: Modify the weights of the given model.
 :param list(ndarray) weights: The model's weights will be replaced by a random permutation of these weights.
 If `None`, permute the model's current weights.
 if weights is None:
 weights = model.get_weights()
 weights = [np.random.permutation(w.flat).reshape(w.shape) for w in weights]
 # Faster, but less random: only permutes along the first dimension
 # weights = [np.random.permutation(w) for w in weights]
 optimizer = adam(lr=0.001, beta_1=0.9, beta_2=0.999, epsilon=1e-08, decay=0.0)

 # cross validation
 print('Starting Cross Validation')
 CV_network = get_model()
 CV_network.compile(loss='mean_squared_error', optimizer=optimizer)
 initial_weights_CV = CV_network.get_weights()
 CV = KFold(n_splits=n_folds, random_state = random_state_CV)
 MASE_CV_L = []
 loss_CV_L = []

 for train, test in CV.split(X_train, y_train):
 shuffle_weights(CV_network, initial_weights_CV)
 mdl_CV =[train], y_train[train], nb_epoch = epochs, batch_size = batch_size) 

 y_CV_pred = CV_network.predict(X_train[test],batch_size = batch_size, verbose=0).flatten()
 MASE_CV = MASE(y_train[test],y_CV_pred, 48)
 loss_CV = mdl_CV.history['loss'][-1]
 MASE_CV = np.average(MASE_CV_L)
 loss_CV = np.average(loss_CV_L)
 # training network on all training data 
 print('Training prediction network')
 network = get_model()
 network.compile(loss='mean_squared_error', optimizer=optimizer) 
 initial_weights_net = network.get_weights()
 shuffle_weights(network, initial_weights_net)
 mdl_net =, y_train, nb_epoch = epochs, batch_size = batch_size)
 y_pred_train = network.predict(X_train,batch_size = batch_size, verbose=0).flatten()
 y_pred_test = network.predict(X_test,batch_size = batch_size, verbose=0).flatten()
 y_pred = network.predict(X_all,batch_size = batch_size, verbose=0).flatten()
 error_train = y_pred_train - y_train
 error_test = y_pred_test - y_test 
 error = y - y_pred
 abs_error = abs(error) 
 MASE_train = MASE(y_train, y_pred_train, 48)
 MASE_test = MASE(y_test, y_pred_test, 48)
 MASE_all = MASE(y, y_pred, 48)
 MAE_train = mean_absolute_error(y_train, y_pred_train).eval(session=sess)
 MAE_test = mean_absolute_error(y_test, y_pred_test).eval(session=sess)
 MAE_all = mean_absolute_error(y, y_pred).eval(session=sess)
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Model name'] = mdl
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'CV MASE'] = MASE_CV
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Training MASE'] = MASE_train
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Test MASE'] = MASE_test
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'MASE'] = MASE_all
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Training MAE'] = MAE_train
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Test MAE'] = MAE_test
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'MAE'] = MAE_all
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'CV Loss'] = loss_CV
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Training Loss'] = mdl_net.history['loss'][-1]

 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Error Time Series'] = error
 results_DF.loc[mdl,'Training History'] = mdl_net.history['loss']

 history_DF = pd.DataFrame(data=list(mdl_net.history.values())[0], index = list(range(1,epochs+1)), columns=[mdl])
 # figure 1 - plotting the actual versus prediction 
 actual_imba_price_G = go.Scatter(x=index,y=y,name='Actual',line=dict(width=2)) 
 predicted_imba_price_G = go.Scatter(x=index,y=y_pred,name='Predicted',line=dict(width=2, dash = 'dash'))
 fig1_data = [actual_imba_price_G, predicted_imba_price_G]
 fig1_layout = go.Layout(title='Forecast',yaxis=dict(title='Imbalance Price [£/MWh]'))
 fig1 = go.Figure(data=fig1_data,layout=fig1_layout) 
 fig1_name = os.path.join(exp_path,'Figure 1.html')
 py.offline.plot(fig1,filename = fig1_name, auto_open = False) # creating offline graph
 # py.plotly.plot(fig1, filename='Forecast', sharing='public') # creating online graph
 # saving results
 network_params_DF = pd.DataFrame(pred_net_params, index=[mdl])
 mdl_params_DF = pd.DataFrame(mdl_params, index=[mdl])
 results_DF = pd.concat([results_DF, network_params_DF, mdl_params_DF], axis = 1, join = 'inner')
 results_all_DF = pd.concat([results_all_DF, results_DF], axis = 0)
 history_all_DF = history_all_DF.join(history_DF, how='outer')



# figure 2 - comparing training history of models
fig2_histories = [history_all_DF[col] for col in history_all_DF]
fig2_data = [go.Scatter(x = data.index, y = data, for data in fig2_histories]
fig2_layout = go.Layout(title='Training History',yaxis=dict(title='Loss'),xaxis=dict(title='Epochs'))
fig2 = go.Figure(data=fig2_data,layout=fig2_layout)
fig2_name = os.path.join(run_path,'Figure 2.html')
py.offline.plot(fig2,filename = fig2_name, auto_open = False) # creating offline graph



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