Skip to main content

Economic and Power System Modeling and Analysis

NREL has a long history of successful research to understand and improve the cost of renewable energy technologies, their possible deployment scenarios, and the economic impacts of this deployment.  As a research laboratory, NREL is a neutral third party and can provide an unbiased perspective of methodologies and approaches used to estimate direct and indirect economic impacts of offshore renewable energy projects.

Deployment and Economic Impact

NREL's economic analysis team is working to provide stakeholders with the tools necessary to understand potential deployment scenarios of water power technologies and the economic impacts of this deployment.

The team is working to improve the representation of marine and hydrokinetic technologies and conventional hydropower and pumped storage hydropower in the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model and to use ReEDS to assess the potential of these technologies and the integration of other variable resource renewable energy technologies.

Cost Modeling

NREL researchers conduct economic analysis of renewable energy projects to quantify the impact of various technical innovations on the levelized cost of wind energy.

For example, NREL's advanced Wind Turbine Design Cost and Scaling Model estimates component level costs based on wind turbine size, annual energy production, and operation costs. The model represents the initial capital investment of offshore projects, considering project size, water depth, distance from shore, and turbine technology. NREL also develops discounted cash-flow models to quantify the impact of financing rates, investment or production incentives, and ownership structures on cost of energy.

Ongoing research focuses on strengthening cost model accuracy in all areas of offshore project analysis. NREL is expanding its capabilities to better represent the initial capital investment of offshore projects, and is working to develop offshore balance-of-station and operation and maintenance models to enhance systems engineering models.
For further details on NREL's energy analysis capabilities, see Energy Analysis.