Power Grid Reliability Basics

Advancements in renewable energy technologies are changing the way we plan and operate the power grid. Learn how we can maintain a reliable grid as we transition to clean energy.

Photo of a transmission tower.

Many grid services are required to maintain reliable power, even during unexpected outages. These services are provided at different timescales and serve different purposes on the grid. As more renewable energy like wind and solar are added to the U.S. power system, there is increased interest and requirements for it to provide the essential reliability services during normal operation and during and after major power disruptions.

Learn about different aspects of grid operations and the ability of the power system to reliably keep the lights on as we transition to clean energy.

Resource Adequacy

Supplying enough electricity in the right locations to keep the lights on during all hours of the year.

Operational Reliability

Balancing supply and demand in real time and rapidly responding to unexpected events.

Power System Resilience

Quickly responding to and recovering from power disruptions.

Power System Protection

Protecting the power grid from faults, or abnormally high or low electrical current.

Additional Resources

Learn more about NREL's research efforts in grid modernization, planning for reliable operations, and renewable energy integration.