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Energy and Economic Analysis: Making the Financial Case

NREL's energy and economic analysis of hydropower technologies leverages decades of experience in system performance modeling, cost estimation, and tool building throughout the renewable energy sector—with the goal of helping stakeholders to better understand the value and investment potential of hydropower.

A mechanical engineer inspects turbine blades.

Economic and Power System Modeling and Analysis

Our researchers leverage NREL's world-class computational resources to perform interconnection-wide grid operations and production cost simulations. Examples include:

Western Wind and Solar Integration

Eastern Renewable Generation Integration

North American Renewable Integration

Power Market Design

This research helps inform decision makers of hydropower's value to the grid as well as areas where it could use improvement.

We perform studies from both the perspective of the grid operator as well as those from the perspective of the plant developer, owner, and operator, with the former helping grid operators to better understand how new hydropower innovations will improve grid operations and reduce system costs, and the latter helping stakeholders better understand the potential value of their investments.

Hydropower Projects

NREL's hydropower researchers lead the grid operations modeling of The Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office's Pumped Storage Techno-Economic Studies work, and have worked closely with national lab partners to develop the Pumped Storage Hydropower Valuation Guidance—a tool designed to help stakeholders better understand the financial and economic value of pumped storage hydro projects.

As a part of this effort, we work with Absaroka Energy and FFP Project 101, LLC (a joint venture between National Grid and Rye Development), to validate the guidance and assess the operational value of their proposed Banner Mountain and Goldendale projects.


Greg Stark

Researcher V – Hydropower Technical Lead