This paper assesses how operational flexibility and the curtailment of renewable energy are connected using a unit commitment and economic dispatch model that includes operational characteristics of conventional power plants and system constraints. A Great Britain test system is analysed under different scenarios of wind (onshore and offshore) and solar installed capacity, showing that an increase in curtailment is mostly expected as wind deployment increases. This curtailment reaches 17% of the annual available variable renewable electricity generation at high wind and solar installed capacities and is mainly driven by the inertial requirement. The best approach to reducing curtailment is, therefore, to reduce the inertia floor by relaxing Rate of Change of Frequency limits. For the assumed curtailment costs, onshore wind presents a stronger correlation with overall curtailment than offshore wind and solar, albeit influenced by the levels of solar installed capacity. Significant reductions in curtailment can be achieved if wind contributes to system balancing requirements. This emphasizes the importance of ensuring that variable renewables are technically able to contribute to system balancing, wherever feasible, and of improving access to revenue streams that incentivise flexible operation of variable renewable generation.