Research and Advanced Studies

Developing good policies and effective plans for expanding renewable energy requires reliable and detailed information about resources, energy production potential, plant output characteristics, economic impact, and other factors. If you are responsible for putting policies or infrastructure in place to ensure a sound growth path and reliable energy delivery, we can provide the data and expert advice you need.


Market and Resource Potential

Understanding how much wind or solar energy your region might support, and at what cost, is often the first step to developing sound policies and strategies. Combining our resource maps and data with in-depth knowledge of renewable energy markets and technology, we can help you envision the future.

Our studies address such questions as:

  • What is the technical, economic, and practical potential for wind and solar energy?
  • How much will it cost to develop renewable energy compared to other resources?
  • What are the most promising technology options for my region? What are the comparative advantages and disadvantages of large and small wind turbines, or centralized and distributed solar plants?
  • Which policy options are likely to encourage sustainable growth in renewable energy supply?

Build-Out Scenarios & Data 

Policy planners and electric utilities often face grave uncertainty regarding the future of renewable energy. How much solar or wind energy could be built in a region? What are the most likely sites to be developed, and how much energy would they produce? We have helped many organizations, like the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)  develop realistic build-out scenarios to answer these questions. The scenarios take into account resource quality and geographic distribution, transmission availability, land-use constraints, and policy mechanisms. 

We can also provide the generation data to allow you to analyze and understand the effects of different scenarios on grid operation, fossil-fuel use, and cost. By combining our advanced models with actual production data, we can provide site-specific energy-generation profiles for existing, planned, and future projects. The synthesized data provide realistic representations of the seasonal and diurnal generation patterns, the variability of the resource and generation on time scales of seconds to years, and power ramp behavior. 


 Economic Impact & Development Studies 

Economic impact studies focus on the effects of increased renewable generation on power grid operations and markets. Based on a range of build-out scenarios, we can analyze the financial and reliability impacts of significant amounts of solar and wind power to aid in future transmission planning. For each scenario, we will develop a generation expansion plan to determine how much conventional generation would be required and the total cost (operation and capital). From this analysis, optimal expansion plans balancing the investments and savings for various needs (renewable and conventional plants and transmission) can be identified.