Where does our power come from? There are three types of large-scale electrical generators:

  1. Baseline generation
    • Nuclear power plants
    • Hydro-electric power plants

Baseline generators are always producing energy and they have little to no storage capabilities to hold what they create. To a degree, these resources can adjust how much energy they produce, but not easily.

  1. Peaking/intermediate generation
    • Natural gas
    • Hydroelectric facilities with storage capabilities

Peaking or intermediate generators can increase or decrease their output as needed. They can also step in to shoulder some of the production load if another generator is experiencing issues.

  1. Variable (unpredictable) but controllable generation
    • Wind
    • Solar

These facilities are very flexible and can change their output quickly in response to system signals.

There is also distribution-connected generation, such as when homeowners put solar photovoltaic cells (solar panels), on their roof. This form of energy is renewable and helps to reduce demand on the grid. However, the smaller scale means that this form of generation is often less visible and less predictable than larger or more established methods of energy production.