Electrification Futures Study: Power Systems Operation with Newly Electrified and Flexible Loads

Ella Zhou, Trieu Mai

Research output: NRELPresentation


The Electrification Futures Study (EFS) is a multi-year study designed to analyze the impacts of widespread electrification in the U.S. energy system. In this webinar we present the detailed power systems operational analysis from the final report in the EFS series. For this analysis, we simulate multiple 2050 power systems for the conterminous United States to assess how variations in the magnitude and shape of electricity demand driven by electrification, and the extent of load participation to more-actively provide grid services, might impact the hourly operation, operational costs, and emissions of various power systems in 2050. The impacts of electrification and demand flexibility are overlayed across systems with significantly greater penetrations of variable renewable energy than today. Overall, we find that the high electrification scenarios envisioned in the EFS with significant VRE penetration (66% of annual national generation) can be operated to meet future increased levels of electrified demand. We also find that demand-side flexibility can enhance operational efficiency and reduce overall annual production costs by $5-$10 billion. The complementary relationship between flexible electric vehicle charging loads and solar generation is particularly pronounced, but in the absence of demand-side flexibility electrification can lead to increased wind and solar curtailment. By helping to reduce renewable curtailment, flexibility can also reduce power sector CO2 emissions. The analysis highlights the value of increased integration and coordination of demand- and supply-side resources in future electric system planning and operations—particularly under high electrification futures.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameWebinar presented 17 June 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5C00-80167


  • demand flexibility
  • demand response
  • electrification
  • power system operation


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