Hybrid Energy Systems Research

NREL assesses the optimal locations for the deployment of hybrid energy plants, seeking to reduce costs and increase penetration by addressing technical, logistical, and economic challenges.


NREL is developing analysis and optimization tools to design more cost-efficient and grid-friendly renewable energy plants by taking advantage of the benefits of hybridization—from addressing technical challenges around controls and electrical infrastructure for combining technologies to determining the optimal locations for deployment across the United States.

Leveraging the capabilities at the Flatirons Campus, NREL is developing cutting-edge technology to help identify the markets and technologies of the future.

A photo of two men looking at a computer monitor that displays blue and green wind-modeling graphics.

Design Methods and Tools

NREL is developing robust open-source modelling tools capable of simulating and optimizing a range of hybrid energy systems. The Hybrid Optimization and Performance Platform (HOPP) is a software tool (part of the NREL suite of systems engineering tools) that enables detailed analysis and optimization of hybrid power plants down to the component level. It has the capability to assess and optimize projects that contain combinations of wind (onshore and offshore), solar, storage, geothermal, and hydro.

The HOPP platform aims to answer the crucial question "When and where do hybrid plants make sense, and how can we design them optimally?" HOPP leverages other NREL-developed tools—ReOpt, SAM, WISDEM—to size, analyze, and design the hybrid power plants of the future, allowing for detailed output on a myriad of design conditions, from number and type of turbine to the overall layout and topology of assets within the system.

An illustration of the United States colored in shades of blue to represent the potential wind capacity at 110-meters hub height.

Resource Characterization, Forecasting, and Maps

To identify the best locations for hybrid plant development, NREL has created high-resolution wind and solar maps using a national database called the WIND Toolkit for wind integration and forecasting, as well as National Solar Radiation Database data. NREL researchers are also advancing the science of wind measurements and observations through numerous industry partnerships. This data enables a full understanding of the complementarity of resource, a crucial piece in determining the optimal deployment of hybrid plants.

A photo of a green and brown field of multiple wind turbines in the foreground and background.


Researchers at the National Wind Technology Center research, design, and validate advanced wind and solar power plant control systems to maximize energy production in hybrid scenarios.

A photo of a transmission power line in a brown field with wind turbines in the background.

Utility Grid Integration

NREL's grid system integration analysts work with the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to provide system characterization data and models that empower electric power system operators to more efficiently manage grid integration and maximize the benefits of hybrid plant operation.

An aerial photo of five land-based wind turbines in a green field.

Energy and Economic Analysis

Land-based wind energy analysis capabilities include tracking historical technology trends and costs, evaluating and assessing future innovation opportunities, and analyzing opportunities for wind power within the electric sector of today and out to 2050. Learn more about NREL's cross-cutting analysis capabilities.


Opportunities for Research and Development of Hybrid Power Plants, NREL Technical Report (2020)


Jennifer King

Jennifer King

Hybrid Systems