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GE Grid Solutions Helps MISO Unlock Billions in Savings with AIMMS-based Energy Market Model

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About GE Grid Solutions and Midcontinent ISO

GE Grid Solutions, a General Electric and Alstom joint venture, serves customers globally with over 17,000 employees in approximately 80 countries. Grid Solutions helps utilities and industry stakeholders effectively manage electricity from the point of generation to the point of consumption, enabling them to maximize the reliability, efficiency and resiliency of the grid. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) uses Grid Solutions software to operate the energy market in the Midwest United States, Manitoba, Canada and a southern United States region which includes much of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.


MISO manages one of the world’s largest real-time energy markets. They serve the electrical energy needs of more than 40 million end users, providing independent transmission system access, efficient market operations, and coordinating regional planning. To reliably serve customers, MISO created markets to maximize the efficient use of the region’s existing generation and transmission while planning for increased consumption. With the establishment of these markets, MISO sought to improve reliability and increase the efficiency of the region’s power plants and transmission assets. From a technological perspective, no energy market system had ever been built to dispatch the number of power plants and miles of transmission the size and scale of this region.

MISO has to ensure that energy generation and consumption are kept in constant balance at all times. Consumers count on electricity to be there immediately, whenever requested. However, power plants have diverse operating characteristics that affect their dispatch. To add to the complexity, the transmission system can only transport a limited amount of energy. Attempting to operate the system beyond its rated capacity can result in line failures and electrical fires. To avoid capacity overload, the system must be dynamic enough to quickly dispatch other power plants to meet high demand. In addition, the system must be robust enough to handle the failure of a power plant or transmission line, and not cause a cascading failure of other devices on the system. Besides electrical energy, power plants provide ancillary services that the markets must manage, adding to the system’s robustness.


The MISO project team chose GE Grid Solutions, an AIMMS customer, to develop this system. The GE Grid Solutions team selected AIMMS primarily because of its modeling capabilities to build, solve, and visualize large optimization models. The AIMMS team has also supported GE Grid Solutions and MISO to make sure they can extract the highest level of value from the technology. Each day, MISO’s energy markets accept or reject offers and bids based on these AIMMS-based optimization algorithms.


The value of having optimized energy markets became apparent after launching the system. MISO provides qualitative benefits to the region, including price and information transparency, planning coordination, and power congestion management. The MISO team was awarded the 2011 Franz Edelman Award for their outstanding achievement in Operations Research and Management Sciences.

Results include:

  • Improved reliability and efficiency of power plants and transmission assets

  • More than $2.2 billion in annual benefits achieved in 2014

  • At least $6.1 to $8.1 billion of value achieved through 2020*

Source: Carlson et al.: Application of OR for Energy and Ancillary Services Markets Interfaces 42(1), pp. 58–73, © 2012 INFORMS *Estimate does not include data from MISO South

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