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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 web-based Standard Scenarios Results Viewer tool, which shows a map of the United States with various options to adjust inputs to generate different power system scenarios.

Access the Standard Scenarios Results Viewer.

Detailed scenario results at the state level are available using the Standard Scenarios Results Viewer.

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).

Access prior versions of the Standard Scenarios.

Publications

The annual Standard Scenarios Report describes the scenarios and discusses major themes or trends observed from the scenarios. For example, themes from the 2018 report include:

  • The impacts on system operation from increasing shares of variable renewable energy
  • The potential for renewable energy technologies beyond solar photovoltaics and land-based wind
  • The effect of continued natural gas and renewable energy deployment on power sector prices
  • The impact of the declining tax credits on renewable energy deployment.

Contact

Wesley Cole

Wesley.Cole@nrel.gov | 720-391-4897