1) Ensure the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system2) Oversee and ensure the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets3) Manage comprehensive planning for the region's bulk power system
Also, here's another take on the role of Regional Transmission Operators like ISO-NE
Today’s power industry is far more than a collection of power plants and transmission lines. Maintaining an effective grid requires management of three different but related sets of flows – the flow of energy across the grid; the exchange of information about power flows and the equipment it moves across; and the flow of money between producers, marketers, transmission owners, buyers and others.
- 6.5 million households and businesses serviced (14 million people)
- Over 350 generators and 8,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines
- 13 interconnections to systems in NY and Canada
- More than 33,000 MW of total supply
- All-time peak demand of 28,130 MW, set on August 2, 2006
- More than 400 participants in the marketplace (those who generate, buy, sell, transport, and use wholesale electricity or implement demand resources)
- $12 billion annual total energy market value (2008)
- Over $4 billion in transmission investment from 2002-2009. $5 billion planned for next 10 years
- Six major 345-kilovolt projects constructed in four states
1) Transmission line capacity - Can New England's power grid move electricity from generation resources to loads (consumers) with minimal congestion and is the transmission infrastructure robust enough to handle unexpected failures with minimal system-wide impact?2) Adequacy of generation resources - Given the locations of the loads in the system and the available or planned transmission capacity, will there be adequate, well-located, and reliable generation resources to meet the needs of electricity consumers. Also, is the system robust and able to handle down-time due to planned maintenance, equipment failures, fuel supply issues, or other unexpected events?3) Integration of wind and other variable-output generation resources - Can the power grid operate reliably with the introduction of large amounts of variable-output generation? Wind is a particular problem in this respect, because output from wind-farms is tough to forecast and alternate generation resources can take time to bring online.4) Implementation of smart grid technologies - Strategically reducing demand during times of peak-load or equipment failure can dramatically reduce costs compared to sizing generation and transmission capability to handle worst-case scenarios.