Coordinating Vacations…I mean outages

MISO-Member Coordination is vital to system reliability

As a child, I spent two weeks out of every summer on my Grandparent’s dairy farm in North Dakota. I remember looking forward to these trips because during those two weeks my Grandparents let me partake in all the chores. At this stage in my life, this seems more like a punishment than a vacation!  We woke up every morning before the sun to milk the cows then we would hurry back to make breakfast and get the bread rising for that evening’s supper. After breakfast, we headed out to finish chores. They did important jobs while I drove the riding lawn mower to nearby farms to wave hello. Between my Grandmother, Grandfather and Uncle, we operated like a well-oiled machine. I remember questioning how they would manage it all when their hard working granddaughter went back to school.

For my Grandparents, days away from the farm were rare. Vacations and sick days required extensive planning to ensure the animals were fed, eggs collected and cows milked.

Much like the farm upon the farmer, the transmission system depends highly on the generation and transmission facilities in the MISO footprint. Each day, MISO calls upon more than 700 different generators and utilizes more than 65 thousand miles of transmission lines to deliver electricity to consumers in the MISO footprint. When a generator or a transmission line becomes unavailable [for repair work, upgrades or a well-needed rest,] members coordinate with MISO to ensure we maintain the delicate balance of the system and the power keeps flowing.  MISO utilizes an exhaustive process, philosophy and approach to outage coordination that enables improved operational planning for Day Ahead and Real Time decision-making. Additionally, our engineers develop precise mitigation plans that help to alleviate potential issues resulting from planned or unplanned outages.

The operational elements and responsibilities of outage coordination touch multiple departments within MISO each providing some level of input and analysis in the months, days and even minutes leading up to the operating day. During this time, MISO operators, transmission owners and generator owners coordinate to approve scheduled outages or reschedule outages based on the current state of the transmission system and provide daily outage assessment reports to the Reliability Coordinator who is responsible for ensuring reliable operations in the Real Time.  If the Reliability Coordinator determines an outage may cause problems, she can delay, move, revoke, or cancel an outage at any time.

Understanding MISO’s Outage Coordination processes and the challenges involved helps us all to maintain efficient and reliable operations and ensure a robust and economic energy market.

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