top of page

NERC and MISO Reliability - Things You Should Know


The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority with the mission to assure the reliability of the bulk power system (BPS) in North America. NERC develops and enforces reliability standards; annually assesses seasonal and long-term reliability; monitors the BPS through system awareness; and educates, trains, and certifies industry personnel.


The Midcontinent Independent System Operation (MISO) is the transmission grid operator for over 90% of the state of Indiana. It is a not-for-profit, member-based organization focused on managing the flow of high-voltage electricity across its region, facilitating one of the world’s largest energy markets, and planning the gride of the future. Its mission is to manage the reliable delivery of low-cost wholesale energy for distribution to the 45 million people living in its region.


Annually, NERC completes a national reliability assessment of each individual transmission system across North America.  Below are key takeaways from the 2023 Long-Term Reliability Assessment completed in December of 2023 for the MISO region.  The full Reliability Assessment can be found here:  Report (


Key Take Aways (MISO):

  • Capacity retirements are outpacing replacement resources creating reliability concerns.

  • The potential for reliability issues exists in “high risk” areas (see figure 1. below).

  • MISO expects to have enough capacity to meet current demand obligations through 2027.

  • MISO is projecting a capacity shortfall of 4.7 GWs (4,700 MWs) in meeting its electricity load obligations starting in 2028

Realistically, the transmission system was not built to handle the amount or types of energy it’s being asked to move today. The transmission systems are antiquated, and in desperate need of significant infrastructure upgrades, across North America. These upgrades are not only costly but also require time for approval, design, and construction.   Additionally, extreme weather events, fast load growth (electrification), and clean energy initiatives are other factors that exacerbate the reliability concerns. 


The past few winter storms have demonstrated how vulnerable the grid is. In particular, the heart of the country, MISO, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regions all faced significant challenges during these weather events, forcing regulatory changes and infrastructure reviews (i.e. Texas in the winter storm Uri of 2021).  In response, both FERC and NERC have issued joint efforts to improve the interconnection process as well as the standards used for generation and transmission expansions.  Additionally, the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania (PJM system members) are joining efforts to address the growing reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy dilemma we all face.  The question is will this be enough, and will it be in time before a catastrophic event occurs?




As an end-use electricity customer with sensitive equipment and products, what can be done to mitigate these reliability risks or protect your facilities from these unplanned events? The following steps are suggestions to help you create a reliability strategy and begin to become more grid independent:


  • To start an energy reliability strategy, ask the question of “what would I do, and how much would it cost if I lost power?”  Be thorough and look at every piece of equipment or operation, and the impact an electrical disturbance has on it. 

  • Everything from momentary blips to multiple day outages, to the loss of equipment and production should be reviewed and included. As everything has a cost and knowing that cost creates the “value” of electricity reliability, which becomes the basis for a reliability strategy.

  • Next, conduct an energy audit on your facility. A true energy audit uncovers the “fat” in energy operations and allows you to address it and make changes to reduce unnecessary practices.

  • After resolving any unnecessary wasteful energy practices and understanding the value of reliability, it’s time to identify and isolate critical energy loads…the loads that must be backed up before unforeseen problems arise that could cause costly repairs, and at worse outages. 

  • The last step in this series is to determine appropriate mitigation tools. This could be everything from UPS systems to flexible load processes, to installing supportive generation, or more, requiring more investigation.


The good news is, we have time, however, we just have no time to waste. 


Should any of these ideas create questions and you would like to discuss them, please reach out. Just don’t wait. Now is the time to prepare for an increased level of electrical disturbances. It’s no longer an “if” but a “when will it occur.”  Are you prepared?


For questions regarding electricity reliability strategies and plans, please contact:

Ed Howard

Strong Tower Energy Partners LLC


bottom of page