External Policy Studies Electricity Policy

Enhanced Renewables in the State/RTO Nexus: A Heartland Case Study

Prepared for the R Street Institute by graduate students of the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
April 28, 2021


Statement of Purpose and Project Objectives The purpose of this Capstone was to assess the MISO footprint electricity policy landscape and present the R Street Institute with recommendations to effectively promote the increased deployment of utility-scale renewable energy and distributed energy resources (DERs) across the MISO footprint. This evaluation is centered on the electric power industry’s governance framework in the MISO region. The overall research topic has been subdivided into three modules: planning of new generation and transmission, operations of current generation and transmission assets, and the integration of distributed energy resources. Given the interrelated nature of jurisdictions and entities within the MISO footprint, key actors include public utility commissions (PUCs), particularly the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), state legislatures, independent system operators (ISO)/Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), particularly MISO, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), large industrial and commercial consumers, local regulatory bodies, retail end-consumers, distributed electricity generators, independent operator utilities (IOUs), and environmental advocacy groups. This evaluation is focused on the following major stakeholders: PUCs, state legislators, ISOs/RTOs, MISO, FERC, retail end-consumers, electricity generators, and IOUs.

Framing the Challenge

The impetus for this analysis is the sweeping changes taking place throughout the electricity markets in the United States today. The problem of renewable energy generation and DER integration is not strictly a technical one. This report considers scenarios in which various policy options of factors are implemented. These scenarios involve transmission planning, formalized communication channels between different stakeholders, DER participation in both wholesale and retail markets, and how current and future stakeholders will be impacted from any change in the energy status quo. The primary focus of this research is on how renewable sources of generation will be integrated into wholesale markets to lower wholesale rates of electricity, build resilience and reliability, and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas.

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