Cambium data sets contain modeled hourly emission, cost, and operational data for a range of possible futures of the U.S. electricity sector through 2050, with metrics designed to be useful for forward-looking analysis and decision support. 

Cambium is annually updated and was first built to expand the metrics reported in NREL’s Standard Scenarios—another annually released set of projections of how the U.S. electric sector could evolve across a suite of potential futures. 

In its third annual edition, the 2022 Cambium data sets have been updated to reflect changes in technology, market, and policy as well as improvements to the underlying models. Particularly noteworthy this year, the scenarios include the major electricity sector provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

The 2022 Cambium release includes three products:

  • The full 2022 Cambium data sets available for viewing and downloading through NREL’s Scenario Viewer
  • A pair of workbooks meant to facilitate the use of Cambium’s long-run marginal emission rate metrics
  • An NREL technical report describing the scenarios and metrics included in the data set.

Long-Run Marginal Emission Rates

A long-run marginal emission rate is the rate of emissions that would be either induced or avoided by a long-term (i.e., more than several years) change in electrical demand, incorporating both the operational and structural consequences of the change. It is therefore distinct from the more commonly known short-run marginal, which treats grid assets as fixed.

Cambium data sets contain long-run marginal emission rate estimates for the contiguous United States.
Download the workbooks containing this metric and guidance on its use.

Screenshot of the Cambium data sets depicting an example long-run marginal CO2 emission rate pattern (kg/MWh) for the Contiguous United States, from the mid-case of the 2020 Standard Scenarios data set. The data is arranged into a heatmap format depicting number of hours in a day and the months in a year.
An example long-run marginal CO2 emission rate pattern (kg/MWh) for the contiguous United States from the mid-case scenario of the 2020 Standard Scenarios data set.

Access the Full Data Sets

Beyond long-run marginal emission rates, Cambium databases include other emission, cost, and operational metrics. The full data sets can be viewed and downloaded via the Cambium Viewer.

Screenshot of the interface of the Cambium Viewer, which includes four sections of interactive data in map and chart formats.

The Cambium data sets are a companion product to NREL’s Standard Scenarios, which contains a broader suite of scenarios with fewer metrics and only at annual temporal resolution. Both products project the possible evolution of the U.S. electricity sector using NREL’s publicly available Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) long-term capacity expansion model. 


Cambium 2022 Scenario Descriptions and Documentation, NREL Technical Report (2023)

Long-Run Marginal Emission Rates for Electricity – Workbooks for 2022 Cambium Data, NREL Data Workbook (2023)

Planning for the Evolution of the Electric Grid With a Long-run Marginal Emission Rate, iScience (2022)

2022 Standard Scenarios Report: A U.S. Electricity Sector Outlook, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Integrating Cambium Marginal Costs Into Electric-Sector Decisions, LBNL Technical Report (2021)

Pieter Gagnon

Senior Energy Systems Researcher