Beginner's Guide to Understanding Power System Model Results for Long-Term Resource Plans

Wesley Cole, Caitlin Murphy, Akash Karmakar

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This guide was developed to improve decision-making in the electricity planning process by strengthening dialogue between electricity system planners and stakeholders throughout the process. This document was created for anyone who is first getting exposed to scenario results from power system planning models, or for those who are beginning to interact with power system modelers. It does not assume any experience with power system modeling, or familiarity with electricity planning concepts. This guide can be helpful to a wide range of people, including but not limited to state utility commissioners and commission staff, state energy offices, and intervenors in the planning process. It is targeted to those who are evaluating or reviewing model results presented by a utility, which typically span utility-scale generation and storage (and associated transmission) assets. This guide is designed to provide enough background and guidance that stakeholders can formulate and ask questions to evaluate model results through a deeper understanding of the key assumptions, data, and methods that drive decision outcomes. The ultimate purpose of this work is to increase transparency in the electricity planning process by enabling stakeholders to better engage and evaluate model results. A follow-on guide will provide a deeper dive into emerging topics, which are expected to become more prominent in the electricity planning process, but whose methods and approaches are still being refined.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A40-87105


  • capacity expansion
  • electricity
  • integrated resource plan
  • long-term planning
  • power system modeling
  • renewable energy


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