Planning for Reliable Operations

NREL researchers are dedicated to planning for reliable grid operations and ensuring a stable and efficient power supply for all.

A utility control room


  • Planning, evaluation, and optimization of evolving energy systems
  • Analyzing grid technologies and infrastructure
  • Modeling and situational awareness
  • Grid stability analysis

Operation Planning Tools

In the ever-evolving energy landscape, the use of advanced operations planning tools is crucial. These tools allow us to forecast demand, optimize resource utilization, and enhance grid efficiency. From sophisticated simulation models to artificial intelligence algorithms, operations planning tools play a pivotal role in developing flexible and reliable power system operations. Explore how NREL uses Sienna on GitHub to revolutionize the way we manage and optimize the power grid for reliability and sustainability.

Distributed Energy Resources as Grid Service

The integration of distributed energy resources is reshaping the energy landscape. Renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, virtual power plants, and other distributed energy resources are not just sources of power but active participants in grid services. Our research examines the role of distributed energy resources in providing grid support, enhancing reliability, and contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. NREL is exploring how these distributed resources are becoming essential players in the orchestration of a reliable grid.

Extreme Events and Contingency Planning

The power grid faces a myriad of challenges, from severe weather events to unexpected system failures. Our research in contingency planning strategies to mitigate the impact of extreme events on grid operations. NREL researchers analyze potential vulnerabilities, develop contingency plans, and implement resilient measures using the U.S. Department of Energy's North American Energy Resilience Model to ensure that the power grid can withstand and recover from unforeseen disruptions. Using the North American Energy Resilience Model, NREL takes proactive measures to enhance grid reliability in the face of malicious attacks and environmental hazards.

Modernized Grid Stability

Grid stability is the bedrock of reliable power system operations. Our research explores the changing landscape of maintaining grid stability with more inverter connected resources and fewer synchronous machines. We are exploring the intricate details of inverter controls and simulating large scale grid stability under various operating conditions using Sienna\Dyn on GitHub. NREL also researches the latest developments in energy storage and renewable energy deployments on IEEE Explore and develops new computational methods to help safeguard the grid from disturbances.


Small-Signal Stability Impacts of Load and Network Dynamics on Grid-Forming Inverters, IEEE Explore (2024)

Solving Unit Commitment Problems With Demand Responsive Loads, IEEE Explore (2024)

Beyond Expected Values Evolving Metrics for Resource Adequacy Assessment, Cigre Science and Engineering Paris Session (2023)


Clayton Barrows

Group Manager and Senior Researcher