The North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS): A Canadian Perspective

Gregory Brinkman, Dominique Bain, Grant Buster, Caroline Draxl, Paritosh Das, Jonathan Ho, Eduardo Ibanez, Ryan Jones, Sam Koebrich, Sinnott Murphy, Vinayak Narwade, Joshua Novacheck, Avi Purkayastha, Michael Rossol, Ben Sigrin, Gord Stephen, Jiazi Zhang

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The North American electric power system is undergoing significant change, with renewable resources now contributing more generation than ever before. This transformation is poised to continue given decreasing technology costs and ambitious decarbonization goals at the federal, state, local, corporate, and consumer levels. The North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS) aims to inform grid planners, utilities, industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders about challenges and opportunities for continental system integration of large amounts of wind, solar, and hydropower to support a low-carbon future grid. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a detailed, continent-wide analysis with planning scenarios of transmission, generation, and demand to reach 80%–92% carbon reductions (from 2005) for the Canadian electric power system, and up to 80% reductions continent-wide. We used a suite of models to study future scenarios and gain insights, including potential impacts on costs, emissions, resource adequacy, and the specific technologies that help enable the transition to a low-carbon grid. Our analysis had a particular focus on the potential role of cooperation among the three North American countries and between regions within each country, and how transmission can support sharing of supply and demand diversity. The NARIS project began in 2016. This report describes a Canadian perspective in coordination with the Natural Resources Canada, and a companion report describes a U.S. perspective in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy. NARIS was an extension of a previous body of work, including the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study, Interconnections Seam Study, and the Pan Canadian Wind Integration Study. NARIS analyzed the entire continent in detail while studying higher renewable generation than previous studies. The scenarios in NARIS were informed by the goals in the Mid-Century Strategies for the Paris Agreement in each country.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages109
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Executive Summary available at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-79225


  • Canada
  • continental
  • grid integration
  • macrogrid
  • North American Renewable Integration Study
  • transmission


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