Keeping the Lights On: Energy Efficiency and Electric System Reliability

Grid reliability depends on a balance between supply and demand, as well as on effective grid operation. Federal and state agencies have increased their scrutiny of grid reliability as a result of changes in the electricity industry and growing concerns about security, aging infrastructure, and adequate supplies. Ensuring the reliability of the bulk power system focuses on preventing uncontrolled loss of customer load over large areas. Historically much of the emphasis in assuring reliability has been on resource adequacy (sufficient supply resources), but industry leaders, regulators, and operators increasingly recognize that reliability depends on a mix of market approaches, technology enhancements, regulatory/operating rules, and demand-side management. Many tools and resources are now available to balance demand and supply and thus ensure bulk power system reliability.

Recent extreme weather events have also raised concerns about grid resilience, which is closely related to reliability. The focus of recent federal regulatory proceedings, resilience involves responding to severe threats to the grid and recovering from outages when they occur. While recent discussions of resilience have focused on electric supply issues, most outages

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