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MISO hosts innovation challenge to help create the utility of the future

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Non-profit electric power organization, The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), announced a new partnership with platform company InnoCentive to host the first crowdsource innovation challenge.

Three industry mega-trends: decentralization, de-marginalization, and digitalization (3D) have brought about the evolution and diversification of utility generation portfolios. MISO has identified five such “utilities of the future” as: conventional, new mix, high wind, distributed, and wireless. Each of these distinct utility profiles has specific strengths to offer the bulk electric system as well as needs to be addressed by MISO regarding availability, flexibility, and visibility.

MISO’s first challenge, Future Innovation of the U.S. Electric Grid, is an ideation exercise originating from the MISO Forward report on the role of an RTO in a 3D world with utility business models. MISO is looking for innovative models and candidate use cases and demonstration projects from both inside and outside the energy and power sector that leverage edge, emerging, disruptive and transformation technologies, capabilities, products, and services to address each of three primary focus and challenge areas (1) Availability; (2) Flexibility; and (3) Visibility in the context of utility profiles of the future and MISO’s ecosystem of exchange.

Transformational solutions are needed to evolve MISO’s ecosystem of exchange that take into consideration the needs of these future utilities and leverage innovation within and beyond the traditional energy value chain.

The competition is open to any solvers within the InnoCentive community. You can learn more about the challenge and submit your ideas here

InnoCentive, which says it has a network of 400,000+ global problem solvers, has worked with energy entities such as Enel and the U.S. Department of Energy and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Each challenge is a 16-week process, consisting of challenge release, submission, response review and final recommendation.

John Goode, senior vice president and chief information officer at MISO said, “We believe that running crowdsource innovation challenges is a way to quickly tap into additional creative ideas from outside MISO and our primary vendors.”

“We are also humble enough to know there can be creative solutions to some of our tough questions about operating the future grid or leveraging emerging and disruptive technologies that could come from outside of our company or even our industry,” Goode added.