Many actors amongst multiple renewables: A systematic review of actor involvement in complementarity of renewable energy sources

N. Bekirsky, C. E. Hoicka, M. C. Brisbois, L. Ramirez Camargo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although complementarity achieved by combining multiple renewable energy sources (RES) is an important method to increase shares of RES, it is often overlooked in policy prescriptions supporting an energy transition. Complementarity can be implemented by multiple actors, however there has been little attention to which actors are involved, and their roles. A systematic review was conducted to provide an overview of the state of academic literature on the topic of combinations of multiple RES and the involvement of multiple associated actors. The sample included 78 articles using a range of methodologies to analyze varying combinations of wind, solar, bioenergy, hydro, geothermal, and ocean energy, alongside combinations of traditional, new, and supporting energy actors. Studies included contextualized (location specific) agent-based, techno-economic, economic, business model, and qualitative analyses, and decontextualized reviews, agent-based, and optimization models. Multi-actor complementarity is being addressed by diverse disciplines in diverse contexts globally, across a range of geographic scales. The majority of studies focus on solar-wind, although more diverse RES combinations were found in contextualized studies. New actors usually participate alongside traditional system actors. More attention to supporting actors is required. Findings highlight the need for further research beyond the technical benefits of combining multiple RES, to explore the roles of various actors. This can be accomplished by incorporating more context in studies, for example, using the substantial existing body of data and research, and by including a greater range of RES combinations, and incorporating more perspectives of associated actors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112368
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Complementarity
  • Energy transitions
  • Multi-actor
  • Multi-stakeholder
  • Renewable energy
  • Systematic review


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