Comparison of Temporal Resolution Selection Approaches in Energy Systems Models: Article No. 123969

Cara Marcy, Teagan Goforth, Destenie Nock, Maxwell Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations


Capacity expansion models for the power sector are used to project future decisions over the coming decades by simulating investment and operation decisions for the use of electricity. Due to model performance constraints, these models typically do not explicitly simulate every hour within a year, but instead simulate representative time segments (groups of hours). This paper evaluates different approaches for selecting time segments across three methods: sequential, categorical, and clustering, across a wide range of time-segment quantities, for a total of 204 temporal profiles. To measure the performance of each profile's ability to accurately represent data, the root-mean-square-error of each profile's time segments are compared to the data's original hourly data. The temporal alignment across regions is also measured (i.e., how often windy days align across regions). Different spatial resolutions were applied for a subset of the temporal selection methods to investigate the impact spatial resolution has on performance. This paper provides a framework for measuring the value of different temporal selection methods and of adding more granular data to energy system models. Overall, multi-criteria clustering yields the lowest root-mean-square-error across all datasets evaluated and provides a holistic view of the intertwined relationships between renewable generation and electricity demand.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-79959


  • capacity expansion planning
  • electrical load
  • energy system modeling
  • renewable energy
  • spatial resolution
  • temporal resolution


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