Powering our future: Energy reliability is the foundation of our world

What is energy reliability?

Energy reliability is the electrical grid’s ability to provide a consistent supply of electricity to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Reliable and affordable electricity is essential for our safety, security, and economic well-being. It powers our homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and emergency services.

It’s the essential foundation for our modern way of life.

What are the sources of our electrical energy?

Electricity resources can be classified into two main categories: dispatchable and intermittent.

  • Dispatchable resources are from energy sources that are always available, and can be turned on and off at will. They are typically used to supply baseload power (this is the minimum amount of electricity needed to meet demand at any given time). Dispatchable electricity comes from sources available 24/7, like natural gas, coal, hydro, and nuclear power. This is how we ensure we always have a stable energy supply. Hydro and nuclear sources are considered clean energy sources (i.e., non-emitting sources). Natural gas and coal emit carbon into the atmosphere.
  • Intermittent resources are from energy sources not continuously available due to external factors that cannot be controlled or fully planned for, such as weather conditions. Examples of intermittent resources include wind, solar, and tidal power.

How does the clean energy transition impact energy reliability?

The clean energy transition primarily refers to the shift in the current electricity mix – moving away from carbon-emitting resources (which provide dispatchable baseload power) and towards intermittent resources.

This is a very necessary and positive development for the environment, but it also presents challenges in terms of maintaining energy reliability and affordability – particularly as the demand for energy is growing exponentially.

Currently, the challenge with intermittent resources, such as wind and solar power, is that they are variable and unpredictable.

This means other resources are still needed to back them up – to make sure we have enough electricity to meet demand.

How can we maintain energy reliability and build a clean energy future?

Moving to a clean energy grid is a must. So is being able to reliably supply affordable energy for everyone when they need it.

There are several ways to maintain energy reliability in a clean energy future.

These include:

  • Investing in energy storage and decarbonization: Energy storage technologies, such as batteries, can help to store excess electricity from intermittent resources and release it when needed. Decarbonization solutions like Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) and Direct Air Capture (DAC) solutions can make natural gas a near-zero emitting dispatchable resource.
  • Building a diversified portfolio of energy resources: By having a mix of dispatchable and intermittent resources on the grid, we can reduce our reliance on any one source of electricity and make the grid more resilient to disruptions.
  • Upgrading and modernizing the grid: The grid needs to be upgraded and modernized to handle the increasing integration of intermittent resources and to improve its efficiency and reliability.

Capital Power’s commitment to clean, reliable and affordable energy:

Capital Power is committed to supplying reliable and affordable electricity to our communities – and achieving our fleet target of net zero by 2045. We’re working hard to be part of a modernized grid.

To learn more about our approach, innovations and commitment to reliability and decarbonization, please see:

Our Sustainability Reports