A Taxonomy of Systems that Combine Utility-Scale Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Technologies

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43 Scopus Citations


Interest in renewable energy-based hybrid systems—which combine multiple renewable energy and/or energy storage technologies—is apparent and growing. Such systems could play an important role in the grid of the future, but our ability to quantify their potential impacts is hindered by (a) the inconsistent treatment of hybrid systems and (b) an incomplete understanding of which aspects of hybridization will have the greatest influence. In this article, we review the literature and propose an organization scheme for utility-scale hybrid systems in which electricity is generated from commercially available, renewable energy technologies, and electricity is the only output. Based on this literature review, we propose three categories for delineating systems that link multiple renewable energy and/or energy storage technologies: co-located resources (locational linkage only), virtual power plants (operational linkage only), and full hybrids (location and operational linkages). Proposing a categorization based on whether the systems involve locational and/or operational linkages reflects the fact that technology combinations do not represent a meaningful delineation. In addition, the categories are ideal for informing model development efforts, by identifying the unique characteristics that must be captured in adequate representations of systems that fall under each category. Our categories can also help inform policy considerations, as they delineate system characteristics that would introduce distinct permitting, siting, interconnection, and policy challenges. Therefore, we believe that our proposed taxonomy will help organize thinking and research efforts in a way that will enable consistent evaluation of the costs, values, and potential of renewable energy-based hybrids.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number110711
Number of pages16
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-75697


  • Classification
  • Co-location
  • Configuration
  • Coupling
  • Energy storage
  • Hybrid system
  • Renewable energy
  • Taxonomy
  • Virtual power plant


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