Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) have a substantial, critical impact on the function of the energy system. Each RTO and ISO is structured and governed differently, yet there is little research on how each of these entities operate. This grant builds on previous Sloan-funded research and provides ongoing support to an interdisciplinary research network, called the RTOGov network, that has is filling this knowledge gap, bringing together scholars from multiple disciplines and institutions. Now led by Seth Blumsack at Pennsylvania State University and Stephanie Lenhart at Boise State University, RTOGov will study how these entities operate and function, how each compares or contrasts with one another, and how differences in organizational structure and governance impact the service they provide to energy systems and customers. This phase will allow scholars in the network to undertake more comparative regional governance studies across institutions as well as examine broader policy issues associated with federal requirements for RTO governance. Building on practitioner collaborations established during the first phase of the project, RTOGov scholars will focus on sharing lessons learned to contribute to the formation of emerging RTO-like entities that are actively being designed in regions like the Southeast, Mountain West, and Alaska.
Grant funds will allow RTOGov to produce at least 12-15 papers for academic journals in multiple fields and associated policy briefs or white papers; engage a diverse range of 25-30 additional contributing scholars; support the training of at least 8-10 students; and continue to provide guidance to practitioners. RTOGov also plans to organize and host 6 semi-annual research workshops that will gather participating researchers, contributors, and advisory committee members.