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Reliability Imperative

There are urgent and complex challenges to the electric grid in the MISO region - challenges that are the shared responsibility of electricity providers, states, and MISO


The electric grid is rapidly changing. In 2020, MISO developed the Reliability Imperative framework to address the urgent and complex challenges facing the grid. MISO defines the Reliability Imperative as the shared responsibility that MISO, its members, and states have to address the urgent and complex challenges facing the MISO grid. 

Four Pillars

MISO’s response to the Reliability Imperative consists of a host of initiatives grouped into four categories: Market Redefinition, Transmission Evolution, System Enhancements and Operations of the future. MISO, working in partnership with its stakeholders, has made important progess in these areas. However, there is still more work to do. 


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. The Attributes Roadmap analyzes the need for market reforms and new requirements to ensure the power grid's system adequacy, flexibility and stability, informing MISO's Reliability Imperative priorities.

Four Pillars of the Reliability Imperative

MISO is enhancing and optimizing its markets and products to ensure they continue to deliver reliability and value in the face of fleet change, extreme weather events, electrification, and load additions.

Key initiatives include: 

  • Ensuring accurate resource accreditation.
  • Identifying critical system reliability attributes.
  • Ensuring accurate pricing of energy and reserves.
  • Improving uncertainty-prone mechanisms like wind, solar and load forecasts.

The Reliability Imperative report defines four distinct themes within the Market Redefinition Pillar: uncertainty and variability, resource models and capabilities, identifying locational needs, and enhancing coordination.

MISO’s control room operations are being challenged by fleet change, extreme weather, and other risk drivers. In addition to implementing lessons-learned from past events such as Winter Storm Elliott, forward-looking work is underway to ensure MISO has the capabilities, processes, and technology to anticipate and respond to operational opportunities and challenges. 

The focus of this pillar is to improve the skills, processes, and technologies needed to ensure MISO can effectively manage the grid of the future under increased complexity.

Key initiatives include:

  • Managing uncertainty associated with increasing reliance on variable wind and solar generation.
  • Preparing control room operators to rapidly assess and respond to changing system conditions.
  • Using AI and machine learning to enhance situational awareness and communications.

The Reliability Imperative report defines five large buckets of work under the Operations of the Future pillar: (1) situational awareness and critical communications (2) operations preparedness (3) uncertainty and variability (4) operations planning and (5) operational continuity.

Under Transmission Evolution, MISO holistically assesses the region’s future transmission needs while considering the allocation of transmission costs. This creates an integrated transmission plan that reliably enables member goals while minimizing the total cost of the fleet transition, inclusive of transmission and generation. It also improves the transfer capability of the region’s transmission system—allowing the system to effectively, efficiently move energy from where it’s generated to where it's needed.

The focus of this pillar is to assess the region’s future transmission needs and associated cost allocation holistically, including transmission to support utility and state plans for existing and future generation resources.

Key initiatives include:

  • Developing “Futures” planning scenarios using ranges of economic, policy and regulatory inputs.
  • Developing distinct “tranches” (portfolios) of Long Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) projects.
  • Improving processes for new generator interconnections and retirements.

One goal of this work is to improve the transfer capability of the region’s transmission system—meaning the system’s ability to effectively, efficiently move energy from where it’s generated to where it is needed. Read the Reliability Report to learn more. 

Continual system enhancements and modeling refinements are the bedrock of MISO's response to the Reliability Imperative. The ongoing complexities of the electric industry landscape necessitate paramount upgrades to facilitate reliability-driven market improvements.

The focus of this pillar is to create flexible, upgradeable and secure systems that integrate advanced technologies to process increasingly complex information and evolve with the industry. Some key initiatives include:

  • Modernizing critical tools like the Day-Ahead and Real-Time Market Clearing Engines.
  • Fortifying cybersecurity and proactively addressing the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape.
  • Developing cutting-edge data and analytics strategies.

This dynamic approach, centered on securely harnessing hybrid cloud technology, optimizes the work environment, positioning MISO for future advancements. The integration of these strategies underlines MISO's forward-looking approach and establishes its leadership in embracing advanced technologies for safeguarding operations. Learn more by reading the full report.

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