Explained: Maintaining a Reliable Future Grid with More Wind and Solar

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


Since the early 2000s, maintaining grid reliability has become more complex due to a variety of factors, including the changing generation mix, the creation of wholesale energy markets, and a growing number of extreme weather events. Parts of the U.S. grid are already operating with significant amounts of wind and solar generation - with 2022 annual wind and solar generation in the range of 25% to 40%. Even without considering the effects of extreme weather, maintaining reliability will require new capacity to address both growth in electric demand and retiring capacity. Based on the 2022 North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Long-Term Reliability Assessment, the combination of both growth in peak demand and retirements suggests a need for more than 100 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity by 2032. In general, there are a five categories of resources that are expected to be deployed and used to meet the challenge of maintaining an adequate source of supply in the coming decades: new wind and solar resources (accounting for their reliability contributions), energy storage, demand response resources, expanded transmission, and continued use of thermal generators.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-6A40-87298


  • power grid
  • reliability
  • renewable energy
  • resource adequacy


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