Modernizing America's electricity infrastructure is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's top priorities. The National Transmission Grid Study made clear that without dramatic improvements and upgrades over the next decade our nation's transmission system will fall short of the reliability standards our economy requires, and will result in higher electricity costs to consumers. The Department's research into a variety of tools that will improve advanced system monitoring, visualization, control, operations, and market structure will ultimately modernize the electricity transmission infrastructure to ease congestion, allow for increases in demand, and provide a greater degree of security. The next generation supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and energy management system (EMS) are being developed. These systems will enable grid operators to react swiftly before a local disturbance can cascade into a larger problem. The systems include the following advances: sensors for measuring system conditions; electric power equipment such as transformers and fault current limiters that regulate power flow; computerized monitoring equipment that enables system operators to "see" the grid in real time and make necessary adjustments; and market mechanisms that promote efficiency and reliability and control systems to protect energy infrastructure. These tools used in concert will increase the safety, reliability and security of the nation's electricity grid.

Other Topic Areas

Activity Areas

  • Real Time Grid Reliability Management
  • Reliability and Markets
  • Load as a Resource
  • Reliability Technology Issues and Needs Assessment

Real Time Grid Reliability Management
The real time grid reliability management area develops operational decision support tools, as well as visualization and monitoring software programs with data from the SCADA and EMS systems, and increasingly from the next generation Wide Area Measurement Systems (WAMS). Working with partners, we develop tools for reliability coordinators, control areas, and operating engineers that maintain reliability by monitoring, tracking, predicting, and responding using real-time data.  It also involves developing measurement and control technologies and integrated security software to enable real time computation of grid status and electricity market pricing.

Reliability and Markets
Efforts within the reliability and markets area focus on developing a comprehensive set of integrated market/engineering design principles, tools, and technologies to support efficient and competitive electricity markets. These tools include modeling and simulating market rules, developing computational methods, and performing real-time analysis of market behavior and its impact on market performance.

Load as a Resource
Load as a resource evaluates the capability of load to respond to price signals, which would improve grid reliability and market efficiency. This entails: characterizing loads and assessing technologies for communicating price signals; assessing the potential of load to provide ancillary services; and forecasting load response over time to assess its integration into real time grid and market operations.

Reliability Technology Issues and Needs Assessment
The reliability technology issues and needs assessment area monitors and identifies technology trends and emerging gaps in electric system reliability, which involves technology assessment, competitive market performance, grid reliability research and technology, development of roadmaps, grid reliability and market metrics, and the assessment of transmission bottlenecks.


Wide-Area Real-Time Resource Adequacy (ACE-Frequency) - Monitoring System
DOE developed this tool, which offers immediate corrective actions by providing immediate alerts when the balance between generation and load has deviated significantly from scheduled values in specific control areas.



North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)
North American SynchroPhasor Initiative (NASPI)
Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS)
California Energy Commission (CEC)