What are Futures and what purpose do they serve?
Futures are forward-looking planning scenarios used to understand what generation fleet and load landscapes could look like twenty years into the future. They allow MISO to bookend the uncertainty of the future generation and load portfolio by defining a range of potential plausible outcomes based on resource plans announced by member utilities and states. The Futures development process considers economic, policy and technological changes over time to model economic generation capacity expansion. They allow for multiple rates of change for load growth, generator retirements, fuel prices, decarbonization, renewable energy levels and other factors.

Because all transmission planning at MISO is dependent upon the type, location and quantity of future generation, Futures are an essential component in MISO planning processes, including MTEP and LRTP.

Developed with stakeholder input, MISO has three Futures that can serve as the foundation of reliability and economic models to see the transmission issues that arise in the base case and to assess potential solutions in the change case studies. Futures 1, 2 and 3 reflect different decarbonization goals, generation mixes, load growth, and levels of achieving state and utility announcements. Tranche 1 focused on Future 1, and Tranche 2 will focus on Future 2A (a refreshed Future 2) and business case analysis for Future 1A.  

How are Futures named? 
Cohorts of Futures are referred to by series. The Series 1 MISO Futures were created in 2019-20, culminating an 18-month collaboration between MISO and stakeholders. The development of Series 1A began in 2022, with a focus on refreshing input data while maintaining the number and definition of Futures established in Series 1. Series 1A and subsequent Futures Series will continue to capture transformation within the MISO footprint, reflecting updates and serving as the foundation for forthcoming MISO initiatives. Iterations of Futures are a product of continued collaboration between MISO and its stakeholders.

What changed in the Futures refresh?
For Series 1A, MISO began a process to update or refresh the Futures in Summer 2022 to account for changes in legislation and energy goals among MISO utilities and states. Clean energy investment and decarbonization from passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Illinois Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), as well as renewable goals in Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) and the scale of renewable applications in the Generator Interconnection Queue (GIQ) all indicate a more rapid transition to renewables than what the Series 1 Futures anticipated. The refresh captures these updates without completely overhauling Series 1. The updated, Series 1A scenarios are named Future 1A, Future 2A and Future 3A (F1A, F2A and F3A for short).

When will the Futures refresh be finalized?
The Series 1A Futures have proceeded in several phases. The preliminary Future 2A expansion was completed in November 2022 and presented at the November 2022 PAC meeting. Stakeholder feedback was requested and as a result, additional scope was added to validate the expansion. The non-chronological expansion was spot tested in a chronological analysis to validate energy sufficiency. As a result of the chronological energy adequacy validation, approximately 29 GW of flexible attribute units were added to the final F2A expansion and siting. This work was completed in April 2023 and presented at the April 2023 LRTP Workshop.

Series 1A has concluded with the publication of the Series 1A MISO Futures Report, which includes the results of all three refreshed Futures, including Futures 1A and 3A.

Where can I get more information on Futures?
Navigate to MISO’s website to find the following:
The MISO Futures Report from 2021 provides more background and detail on the original Futures. Also, in response to questions about what has remained constant and what has changed in the refreshed Futures, MISO has produced a Futures Refresh Assumptions Book. Finally, Futures refresh results have been posted in a Series 1A MISO Futures Report.  
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