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Futures Development

MISO Futures are forward-looking planning scenarios of the energy landscape. These scenarios establish different ranges of economic, policy, and technological possibilities – such as load growth, electrification, carbon policy, generator retirements, renewable energy levels, natural gas price, and generation capital cost – over a twenty-year period. 

Why does MISO use Futures?

In order to perform analysis on the bulk electric system twenty years into the future, many assumptions must be made to bridge what is known about the system today to what it could be in the future. Complicating matters is the uncertainty of future developments.

A core component of analyzing the grid twenty years into the future is understanding what the electric generation resource fleet will be. Since MISO is not an integrated resource planner, MISO relies on its stakeholders, policy direction, and industry trends to bridge the gap between what the generation fleet is today and what it will be. The Futures are used to hedge uncertainty by utilizing an economic resource expansion analysis, which forecasts the fleet mix that meets MISO’s planning reserve margin at the lowest cost while adhering to policy objectives.

Using the range of resource generation modeled, MISO will then apply the Futures’ expansion results to multiple MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) cycles, the Long Range Transmission Plan (LRTP) initiative, and other planning studies that ensure continued reliability and economic energy delivery. These scenarios will inform components of the Reliability Imperative, such that MISO and its stakeholders can plan to a consistent set of scenarios across transmission, markets, and operations.

Why has MISO Updated the Futures process?

MISO received a clear message of urgency from its stakeholders including member utilities, policy makers, and large end-users asking MISO to move quickly from identifying high-level needs to providing solutions that allow states and utilities to reach their energy transition goals. In response, MISO initiated a public stakeholder process to update the Futures process to align with the ongoing rapid transformation and to better incorporate the plans of MISO’s members and states, while also creating a bookended range of future scenarios that could be utilized in multiple study cycles. The public stakeholder process kicked off in August 2019, included thirteen different public stakeholder meetings, and concluded in December 2020.

The new MISO Futures are a product of continued collaboration between MISO and its stakeholders. They represent challenges and compromises enabling member utilities to achieve significant fleet transition goals with diverse approaches or a more traditional resource portfolio. Substantive highlights and information are added below, under Futures Evolution.

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  • MTEP19 Future scenarios and results: One-Pager
  • MTEP19 Futures definitions, uncertainty variable data, and detailed results: Futures Summary