Historical Comparison of Capacity Build Decisions from the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) Model

Wesley Cole, Nina Vincent

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Regional Energy Deploy System (ReEDS) capacity expansion model is frequently used to project the evolution of the U.S. power sector under a wide range of conditions. However, the model's capacity expansion decisions have never been evaluated against historical capacity expansion decisions. In this work, we perform a model validation exercise, comparing capacity expansion decision from ReEDS for 2010-2016 against the actual buildout of the electricity sector. We find that with three key adjustments ReEDS is able to reproduce national level results with reasonably high accuracy. Those three adjustments are to use historical average planning reserve margins instead of the NERC-recommended reserve margin levels, using actual financing costs rather than long-term average financing costs, and disallowing the lowest-cost hydropower upgrades, geothermal sites, and compress-air energy storage sites. We also compare the ReEDS results at a state-level and find that state-level results can be better represented by including a penalty for transferring power between regions. The improved results with that penalty indicate that the ReEDS transmission representation is likely not sufficiently stringent, and should be improved. Overall these results show that with the improvements described above, ReEDS can effectively reproduce historical capacity additions, which increases our confidence in using the model in making forward-looking projections.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-71916


  • financial costs
  • ReEDS
  • transferring power


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