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Reliability Imperative


MISO’s Reliability Imperative – the actions that we are taking to ensure the current and future reliability of the grid – focuses on preparing the region for a future with a different risk profile stemming from a high penetration of renewables. The Reliability Imperative work focuses on four critical areas: planning, markets, operations, and systems.

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Four elements of the Reliability Imperative

To keep pace with the rapidly changing grid, MISO’s markets must be enhanced to ensure they properly incentivize resources so they are available when needed most.

Market Redefinition efforts aim to ensure that resources with critical capabilities and attributes will be available when they are most needed.  This includes making resource availability and attributes more transparent in the planning horizon and improving price signals in the operating horizon.  The pace of the fleet transition is increasing, so these and other efforts must be pursued now to ensure they are ready when needed.

  • Needs assessment: MISO is exploring with stakeholders ways to manage uncertainty and variability in a future with more volatile risk, including identifying attributes that will be needed at various times and incorporating severe weather into planning and operations.
  • Regional Resource Assessments: This study will model how the region’s mix of resources could evolve on a year-by-year basis for 20 years going forward in order to assess if enough resources with specific types of attributes—such as fast-ramping capability—will be available in the locations and at the times they are needed.   
  • Seasonal Resource Adequacy and improved accreditation: Because the summer-focused approach to Resource Adequacy no longer captures all the reliability risks the region now faces, MISO is proposing to shift to a more accurate “seasonal” approach. This effort also includes improving how resources are accredited.
  • Increased Reliance on Energy Market Pricing: MISO continues to make pricing reforms to ensure prices reflect system conditions at all times, incenting resources to be available when and where needed.
  • Enhanced regional coordination will improve transparency on how regional investments drive system needs and advance coordination at the seams of bulk power systems and at the transmission-distribution interface.

MISO’s Long Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) initiative assesses the region’s future transmission needs holistically, in concert with utility and state plans on where to site and build new generation resources.  

LRTP Details

Given the long lead time to permit and construct transmission infrastructure, LRTP is needed urgently to enable the mid-term goals of our states and utilities.  Work continues in several related areas.

  • Policy Consensus: MISO developed three robust Futures based on stakeholder input. 
  • Business Case Development: LRTP is a comprehensive “transmission roadmap” that identifies investment opportunities in transmission projects that will help stakeholders optimize generation and transmission costs on a holistic basis while we continue to develop solutions through targeted studies.
  • Benefit and Cost Allocation: LRTP seeks to ensure that the costs of new transmission projects are allocated beneficiaries. MISO is committed to working with the Organization of MISO States (OMS), transmission owners, and other stakeholders to develop cost allocation mechanisms that support LRTP and recognize the benefits of maintaining system reliability and any economic benefits in light of the policy and fleet transition objectives of stakeholders.
  • Next Steps: As solutions are identified through the LRTP initiative, they will be moved into the ongoing MTEP process.  MISO anticipates delivering the first round of suggested LRTP projects to the Board of Directors in early 2022.

The Market System Enhancement (MSE) program is updating, enhancing, and transforming the market systems and technology platform into a flexible, upgradable, and secure system that will be able to evolve with the industry and support reliability for years to come. 

MSE Details

The MSE program will provide the platform for faster adoption of new technologies into the market and better accommodate the region’s changing resource mix to ensure reliable, efficient operations for our customers.

  • Even minimal changes to current systems require significant resources.  New systems will allow more timely improvements to meet MISO’s evolving needs.
  • The ability for MISO operators to deploy enhanced situational awareness depends on the quality of data deployed through MSE. 
  • Building on MSE program progress, flexible design, advance data analytics, and model management, we are uncovering additional market and reliability needs. MISO will need to continue to invest in system enhancements and develop capabilities for managing increasingly complex reliability challenges.

Operations of the Future focuses on the skills, processes and technologies needed to enhance visibility of system conditions and ensure continued reliability across our region.


To meet the grid challenges of tomorrow, MISO must leverage digital strategy to better manage future operational uncertainty and invest today in four key areas.

  • Situational Awareness: Given greater complexity with generation mix and behind the meter resources, a focus on situation awareness of risks and conditions will improve MISO’s ability to turn data into actions.    
  • Operations Planning: MISO will leverage digital strategy to better manage supply and demand variability in every hour. The shift to more weather-dependent, intermittent renewables and distributed resources means that periods of system stress and operating risks are becoming less obvious and more difficult to manage in day-to-day operations. 
  • Critical Communications: Facilitating optimized and audience-appropriate information flow between operators within a control center, between control centers, and to the appropriate parties outside of MISO’s control centers ensures the right information gets to the right people at the right time. 
  • Operations Preparedness: Investing in training simulations and providing operators a range of simulated experiences on new and/or updated tools will better position operators to prepare for and manage complex system conditions.

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