Standard Scenarios

NREL's Standard Scenarios are a suite of forward-looking scenarios of the U.S. power sector that are updated annually to support and inform energy analysis.

Screenshot of the interface of the Cambium Viewer, which includes four sections of interactive data in map and chart formats.
Detailed scenario results at the state level are available using the Scenario Viewer and Data Downloader.

The Standard Scenarios are simulated using the Regional Energy Deployment System and Distributed Generation Market Demand Model capacity expansion models and are updated each year to provide timely information regarding power sector evolution. The scenarios have been designed to capture a range of possible power system futures and consider a variety of factors from high vehicle electrification to major cost declines for electricity generation technologies (e.g., using cost inputs from the Annual Technology Baseline).

For select scenarios, the models are run using the PLEXOS software and the Cambium tool that assembles structured data sets of hourly cost, emissions, and operational data for modeled futures. Results are available using the Scenario Viewer and Data Downloader.

Read the 2021 Standard Scenarios report, view a webinar recording and presentation slides on the latest release, and access previous versions


Wesley Cole