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Reliability Imperative

Reliability Imperativethe shared responsibility utilities, states, and MISO have to address fleet change, extreme weather events, and other challenges facing the region.

MISO’s Reliability Imperative report identifies the complex and urgent challenges to grid reliability in the MISO region and outlines MISO's initiatives to address those risks. 

To help guide those efforts, the MISO Roadmap lays out the strategic priorities that support and enable our members' plans and goals for transitioning to the grid of the future. 

Four Elements of the Reliability Imperative

The transformation of the electricity sector – shaped by a changing resource mix, more frequent extreme weather events, and increasing electrification – is creating new and shifting needs and increasing the challenges of ensuring sufficient resources during high-risk periods. Significant enhancements to MISO’s foundational market constructs in place today – resource adequacy, energy, and ancillary reserves markets – are needed to ensure continue reliability and value in the future.

MISO is working to redefine the markets in four areas of focus:

Managing Uncertainty and Variability:  Electric system operating conditions are more uncertain and variable than in the past, and this trend is increasing. Key efforts to manage this uncertainty include transitioning to a seasonal resource adequacy construct, reforming accreditation, and enhancing scarcity pricing to better align system needs and capabilities during tight operating conditions.

Resource Models and Capabilities:  Enhancements to MISO’s suite of resource participation models are needed to realize the full advantages of increasingly complex resource capabilities. Work to enhance existing models and design and implement new market participation models, such as the electric storage resource model, is ongoing.

Identifying Locational Needs:  Increasing interdependence among regional resources, extreme weather events, and changing transmission usage create new and shifting locational challenges, including increased congestion that is more variable and less predictable, and potential ancillary service shortages. Planned market enhancements include enabling reserve zone adjustments, enhanced sub-regional resource adequacy assessments, and steps toward inverter-based resource optimization.

Enhancing Coordination:  Coordination needs are driven by increasingly complex distribution grid sited resources, fuel supply concerns, and dependence on neighboring system operators. Robust coordination is needed for improved decision making, goal tracking, and proactive risk mitigation. MISO will continue to look for ways to streamline coordination efforts and processes for collecting and sharing data, such as the annual Regional Resource Assessment effort, as well as refining the modeling objectives to maximize value to stakeholders.

The combination of the continued evolution of the generation portfolio in the MISO Region, including the removal of many traditional resources and a greater reliance on intermittent generation, and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events, is increasing reliability risks.  Significant regional transmission investment is required as part of the broad solutions to address the challenges.

MISO’s Long Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) initiative includes the related work to assess the region’s future transmission needs holistically, in concert with utility and state plans on where to site and build new generation resources, and to identify robust solutions that will provide value for the region.

  • Future Scenarios: To address the uncertainty associated with planning transmission investments decades out, MISO develops and plans for multiple future scenarios.  These scenarios establish a range of possible outcomes across economic, policy, and technological factors that impact transmission needs.  Potential solutions are then tested against the set of Futures to identify those that are robust or create value in any future state. 
  • Transmission Solution Development: The LRTP process is working to identify solutions that meet current and future needs driven by the evolving resource portfolio and the challenges posed by extreme weather events.  These solutions must have strong business cases that hold up across the future scenarios.  The business case includes an assessment of benefits against costs and MISO is working to ensure the inclusion of appropriate benefit drivers given the broad needs these projects are expected to address. In July of 2022, MISO's Board of Directors unanimously approved $10.3 billion in new transmission projects. This is the first of four planned transmission portfolios in the Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) process.     
  • Cost Allocation: The objective of MISO’s cost allocation methodologies is to spread the costs of new transmission projects roughly commensurate with benefits. MISO is working collaboratively with the Organization of MISO States (OMS), transmission owners, and other stakeholders to develop cost allocation mechanisms that support, and are appropriate for, LRTP solutions and recognize the benefits of maintaining system reliability and any economic benefits in light of the policy and fleet transition objectives of stakeholders.
  • Other Planning Efforts: In parallel to the significant work associated with identifying LRTP solutions, MISO will also spend time exploring process enhancements.  This will include joint planning with seams partners and exploring improved alignment across the different components of our planning process.

MISO’s ability to respond to the Reliability Imperative is enabled through continuous enhancements to the systems, data analytics, and modeling capabilities to help MISO more efficiently integrate future technology and better utilize data. Current systems and technology are not capable of meeting these future needs and opportunities, so MISO in 2017 MISO initiated the Market System Enhancement Program to build and launch new systems that enables new capabilities and future enhancements.

Market System Enhancement (MSE) Program:  The MSE program is transforming the current market to help MISO meet the evolving needs of the future. The program is focused on building and launching new systems with improved performance, security, and architectural modularity, which enhances our ability to deliver new market products more quickly and efficiently. Several improvements have already been launched externally, including an improved Model Manager for modeling the electrical system, an updated Market User Interface for stakeholders to participate in the market, and a Short-Term Reserve market product to improve procurement and market signals for flexible energy resources. Upcoming enhancements include enhanced Day-Ahead and Real-Time market clearing engines and an upgraded Energy Management System.

MISO’s system operations role will be challenged by the different types of resources connecting to the grid and the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events that we have experienced in recent years.  In addition to implementing lessons-learned from past events, forward-looking work is underway to ensure that MISO has the people skills, processes, and technology to anticipate and respond to operational opportunities and challenges. 

MISO’s efforts to prepare for the operations needs of the future focuses on five areas of work:

Situational Awareness:  With increasing complexity of the grid and availability of data, in the future MISO needs an integrated toolset that leverages advanced technologies and enhanced data to help operators turn data into actions.

Operations Preparedness:  In the future, system operators will face more rapidly changing system conditions, increased volumes of data, and enhanced technologies and tools. Improved simulation tools and training are needed to ensure that personnel are ready.

Critical Communications:  Enhanced capabilities and more complex operating conditions in the future will require MISO and its members to communicate even more quickly and efficiently going forward.

Operations Planning:  In the future, it will be more important than ever to leverage information in new ways, including aligning operations and planning models and improving outage coordination analysis processing capabilities.

Business Continuity:  Improved tools and updated processes are vital to ensuring that MISO can reliably operate the grid, mitigate risks, and, if necessary, recover quickly in the event of disruptions to toolsets or control centers.

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