Futures are forward-looking scenarios of the energy landscape that are developed with stakeholders through the Planning Advisory Committee and ad-hoc workshops. The futures establish ranges of combined possibilities that produce a representation of what could be. Futures consider economic, political, and technological changes of different rates over time, i.e. natural gas price forecasts, load growth rates, generator retirements, renewable energy levels, carbon policy, and generation capital cost maturities.
This information is used to model economic generation capacity expansion, which forecasts the optimal fleet to meet planning reserve margin and any renewable energy or environmental requirements. Using the range of optimal resource mixes across futures, MISO then develops transmission plans that ensure continued reliability and economic energy delivery.
The goal of MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP) is to bookend uncertainty by defining a wide range of potential outcomes. Robust transmission planning is dependent upon the type and location of future generation. In most cases, effective transmission planning must occur nearly 10 years prior to a significant transmission need. MISO's Attachment Y generation retirement process requires a minimum six month notice and the Generator Interconnection Queue provides a two to three year outlook for resource additions. This lack of foresight poses a challenge to MISO transmission planning to evaluate future grid needs. MISO MTEP futures are long-term and consider possible outcomes as well as capture the uncertainty that the electric industry faces over the next 15 years.