The role of energy storage in the uptake of renewable energy: A model comparison approach

Sara Giarola, Anahi Molar-Cruz, Kathleen Vaillancourt, Olivier Bahn, Luis Sarmiento, Adam Hawkes, Maxwell Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


The power sector needs to ensure a rapid transition towards a low-carbon energy system to avoid the dangerous consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. Storage technologies are a promising option to provide the power system with the flexibility required when intermittent renewables are present in the electricity generation mix. This paper focuses on the role of electricity storage in energy systems with high shares of renewable sources. The study encompasses a model comparison approach where four models (GENeSYS-MOD, MUSE, NATEM, and urbs−MX) are used to analyse the storage uptake in North America. The analysis addresses the conditions affecting storage uptake in each country and its dependence on resource availability, technology costs, and public policies. Results show that storage may promote emissions reduction at lower costs when renewable mandates are in place whereas in presence of carbon taxes, renewables may compete with other low-carbon options. The study also highlights the main modelling approach shortcomings in the modelling of electricity storage in integrated assessment models.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112159
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-79453


  • Electricity storage
  • Emissions reduction
  • Energy systems modelling
  • Intermittent renewables


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