As the shares of variable renewable generation in power systems increase, so does the need for, inter alia, flexible balancing mechanisms. These mechanisms help ensure the reliable operation of the electricity system by compensating for fluctuations in supply or demand. However, a focus on short-term balancing is sometimes neglected when assessing future capacity expansions with long-term energy system models. Developing heuristics that can simulate short-term system issues is one way of augmenting the functionality of such models. To this end, we present an extended functionality to the Open Source Energy Modelling System (OSeMOSYS), which captures the impacts of short-term variability of supply and demand on system adequacy and security. Specifically, we modelled the system adequacy as the share of wind energy is increased. Further, we enable the modelling of operating reserve capacities required for balancing services. The dynamics introduced through these model enhancements are presented in an application case study. This application indicates that introducing short-term constraints in long-term energy models may considerably influence the dispatch of power plants, capacity investments, and, ultimately, the policy recommendations derived from such models. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.