Our roadmap for the next five years - The ISO’s new Strategic Plan

By Elliot Mainzer, President and CEO |

The most effective organizations have clear, easy to understand strategic plans articulating what they hope to achieve and a sound roadmap for getting there. I am pleased to report that the California Independent System Operator (ISO) has a new 2022-2026 Strategic Plan approved last week by our Board of Governors.

The ISO most recent strategic plan was approved by our Board in March 2015. Now, with our rapidly evolving resource mix, additional growth in demand from the continuing electrification of transportation, building and other industries, and because of the worsening impacts of climate change as California transitions to a carbon-free bulk power system by 2045, it was time for an update.

The finished product is the result of extensive consultation with the ISO’s Board, the Western Energy Imbalance Market Governing Body and a broad range of customers and stakeholders within California and throughout the Western United States.

Our vision for the plan is simultaneously ambitious and straightforward: we strive to “operate the world’s most reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable power system.” To get there, the plan identifies five over-arching strategic objectives:

  • Reliably and efficiently integrate new resources by proactively upgrading operational capabilities
  • Strengthen resource adequacy and meet California’s SB 100 goals through long-term transmission planning and effective coordination with state agencies
  • Build on the foundation of the Western Energy Imbalance Market to further expand Western market opportunities
  • Provide highly responsive and inclusive stakeholder engagement and customer service
  • Create a flexible and adaptive work environment that retains and attracts a highly skilled and engaged workforce.

Designed to serve as the central organizing principle for the ISO and guide our priorities and external efforts over the coming years, the plan also identifies 15 specific actions needed to achieve our objectives. If we are successful, I believe we will be a big step closer to realizing that overall vision mentioned above.

Our new plan is designed to support our work deploying human and financial resources as efficiently as possible while making sure we are meeting the most pressing needs of our customers and stakeholders in California and throughout the region. The plan will also help us continue to retain and attract a highly skilled and engaged workforce through a flexible and individualized approach to remote work in a rapidly changing, post-pandemic world.

As thoughtful and as specific as I believe the plan to be, we also understand the need to remain nimble, able to adjust as conditions and events may dictate. We will continuously take stock of our progress with our customers and stakeholders, and will adapt accordingly if and when that is necessary.

In the months that we worked on drafting the plan with our own internal team and with stakeholders and customers, we approached the effort within the framework of the ISO’s organizational values that our leadership team refined a year earlier.

Those vales of integrity, accountability, service, humility and resilience are infused in this plan and in all the work we do as a public service entity committed to meeting our important responsibilities in accordance with the highest ethical standards. And we do so while engaging collaboratively with our diverse customers and stakeholders to take on the unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing our industry.

My great appreciation goes out to the many people who helped prepare and refine this plan. They also have my thanks in advance for helping us see it to fruition. I have no doubt the next five years will continue to be dynamic, exciting and challenging. With our new 2022-2026 Strategic Plan and our growing number of partners throughout the West, I feel confident about our ability to rise to the occasion and strengthen reliability as we continue to build the clean, dependable grid of the future.

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