Evaluating the Interactions Between Variable Renewable Energy and Diurnal Storage

Nathaniel Gates, Wesley Cole, A. Frazier, Pieter Gagnon

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Cost declines and growing deployment of photovoltaic (PV), wind, and storage have led to increasing interest in the potential interactions of these three technologies as their role in the power system grows. In this work we enhance a national-scale capacity expansion model to evaluate how PV, wind, and storage interact in the evolution of the power system. Importantly, the modeling framework captures interactions in both investments and operations. Through this work we identify significant synergies between PV and storage. Scenarios with more PV always have more storage, and scenarios with more storage always have more PV. This synergy is due to the diurnal alignment of PV generation with 4-8 hour storage, and to the ability of PV to narrow system peaks to allow shorter-duration storage to serve as a peaking resource. Interactions between wind and storage are less pronounced, though we do observe that longer-duration storage resources appear to provide greater value for wind.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages58
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-78042


  • capacity expansion
  • photovoltaic
  • ReEDS
  • solar
  • storage
  • wind


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