Develop Your Study’s Scenarios and Sensitivities | Clean Power Hub

Develop Your Study’s Scenarios and Sensitivities

With the work plan finalized, the MWG will establish the precise parameters and assumptions for your study’s scenarios. These parameters and assumptions will likely be based on the scenarios and sensitivities you identified previously, as well as the specific needs and capabilities of the model or models you have chosen. They should be validated and approved by the TRC.

What You Need to Know

  • The MWG should develop concrete scenarios for your study by defining the key assumptions including geographic focus, time period, and changes to power system structure, operations and policy.
  • The time periods for your scenarios depend on the type of model you are running. Capacity expansion scenarios focus on the entire planning horizon while production cost and power flow scenarios typically focus on a single target year.
  • Assumptions will vary by scenario, and each must be carefully considered and validated by the TRC.

First, Consider Your Business-as-Usual Scenario (BAU)

A BAU scenario depends on a variety of assumptions about future market operations, technology, and economic conditions.

If possible, a BAU scenario should establish assumptions about demand, generation, and transmission in future years and be based on existing energy sector, power sector development, or integrated resource plans. This will ensure your scenarios reflect your power system’s most likely future. When defining your BAU scenario, consider future electricity demand, transmission, conventional generation additions and retirements, renewable energy plants, and more.

Next, Consider Your High Renewable Energy Scenarios

The creation and execution of four to five high renewable energy scenarios is central for your grid integration study. These high-renewable energy scenarios can be tailored to explore a range of potential renewable energy goals.

If you are running a capacity expansion analysis, these analyses can define your renewable energy scenarios and produce the high-renewable energy scenarios that can be further analyzed for operational feasibility and reliability in production cost or power flow analyses. If your grid integration study does not contain a capacity expansion analysis, the MWG and TRC can define a renewable energy scenario using a variety of factors.

Now, Think About Your Sensitivity Analyses

A sensitivity analysis involves considering a scenario with an alternative set of assumptions about operational practices, policies and incentives, market designs, and more. A sensitivity is applied to all or select scenarios, and the results are compared to the scenarios without sensitivities.

Sensitivity analyses are a key element of a grid integration study because they provide a way to assess the robustness of findings from the grid integration study. They also provide you the ability to identify and prioritize policy or operational enhancements that will enable cost-effective renewable energy integration.

Finally, Review This Scenario and Sensitivity Template

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed this presentation as a template to help a TRC define its study scenarios and sensitivities.

Suggested Actions & Next Steps

  • Revisit the scenarios and sensitivities outlined in your work plan, and consider whether they need to be adjusted.
Need help adjusting your scenarios and sensitivities ?You may want to talk to an expert. We can connect you.
  • Secure the inputs to develop your scenarios, which might include power sector development plans, integrated resource plans, demand forecasts, and other official projections of demand, generation asset development and retirements, and transmission enhancements.
  • Develop your BAU scenario using the guidance above
  • Using these examples, draft a set of priorities for defining your high-renewable energy scenarios. How many high-renewable energy and sensitivity analyses do you want to include in your study? What will your budget and timeframe allow?
  • Draft a set of priorities for the sensitivity analyses for your high-renewable energy scenarios.
  • Using this draft presentation, share all of these drafts with your TRC and collect their feedback and input. Revise your BAU, scenarios and sensitivities as needed.
  • If your sensitivity analyses require new data, collect it.
Need help developing your model scenarios and sensitivities?Join the Discussion in the Clean Power Hub Community.


We are using cookies to give you an optimal experience on our website. You can find out more about which cookies we are using in our privacy policy.