Methods for Representing Flexible, Energy-Constrained Technologies in Utility Planning Tools

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Power system flexibility is becoming more important due to increasing deployments of variable generation technologies, and more economically relevant due to falling battery costs as well as other factors. The decadal timescale of power system planning further implies possible relevance for technologies such as concentrating solar power with thermal energy storage (CSP with TES). Fully capturing system flexibility needs as well as flexibility contributions from energy-constrained resources such as battery energy storage (BES) and CSP with TES within capacity expansion models has been difficult to do within limited computational budgets. In this paper we present a comprehensive suite of modeling features that captures capacity credit, curtailment impacts, and value-stacking dispatch for arbitrary BES and CSP with TES configurations in the Resource Planning Model (RPM). Results presented for a region in the United States desert southwest demonstrate the potential importance of explicitly planning for these resources in the coming decade.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-72120


  • battery energy storage
  • capacity expansion modeling
  • concentrating solar power
  • power systems
  • variable generation


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