Intro to Regional Wholesale Electricity Markets - RTOs and ISOs

Live Streaming Online August 23-24, 2023

An EUCI Program

Click Here to register $1195

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event


This course is designed to introduce basics of wholesale electricity markets operating in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The purpose is to enhance attendees’ understanding of types of wholesale electricity markets and the platforms that offer such markets. The focus will be on the functions of RTOs/ISOs and their role in providing platforms for real-time and day-ahead energy markets, ancillary service markets, and in some cases capacity markets. Participants will also gain a high-level understanding of current issues affecting electricity markets and will receive detailed explanation of how the electricity markets operate.  

Major topics covered in this course include: 

  • Basics of electric power systems
  • The role of FERC and State Regulatory Agencies
  • RTOs and ISOs and their functions and characteristics
  • Wholesale electricity prices trend and volatility, locational marginal price (LMP), capacity markets, financial transmission rights (FTRs)
  • Review of supply and demand relationship; spot vs. bilateral electricity markets  
  • Day-ahead and real-time settlement, wholesale demand response, forward pricing curve, and price forecasting
  • Comparison of energy, capacity, and ancillary service markets offered by RTOs/ISOs in the U.S. 

Learning Outcomes  

  • Review major components of a power system and types of wholesale electricity markets
  • Discuss platforms for real-time and forward wholesale electricity markets
  • Explain locational marginal price (LMP) and its components
  • Describe types of risks inherent in the wholesale energy markets and financial tools to manage such risks
  • Define and provide examples of ancillary services and bilateral and real-time energy markets
  • State the role of FERC and state regulatory agencies
  • Describe ISO/RTO functions, financial settlement, and credit issues
  • Describe role of transmission in the regional wholesale electricity markets



9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central Time

Power System Basics, Types of Generation Resources and Loads, and Regulatory Oversight 

  • Fundamentals of electricity, definitions, and units
  • Overview of source to socket components: generation, transmission, distribution, and loads
  • Power flow demonstration 
  • Types of generation resources, heat rate, capacity factor, and installation costs
  • Load characteristics, load duration curves, load factor, and customer classes
  • Demand response
  • Power system losses
  • Regulatory oversight: role of FERC, state regulatory agencies, and market monitor
  • Review questions 

Types of Energy Markets and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs)  

  • Wholesale electricity prices and volatility
  • Review of supply and demand relationship 
  • Types of electricity markets: real-time (spot) vs. bilateral markets
  • RTOs/ISOs in U.S. and Canada
  • RTO functions and characteristics
  • RTO drivers
  • Advantages and disadvantages of RTO /ISO participation
  • Regulatory framework and role of FERC and state regulatory agencies 
  • RTO stakeholders
  • Review questions

Locational Marginal Price (LMP) 

  • LMP concept
  • Components of LMP and examples 
  • Nodal, Hub, and Zonal LMP
  • LMP demonstration, review questions, and class exercise 

RTO/ISO Wholesale Electricity Markets 

  • Economic merit order and unit commitment
  • Security constrained economic dispatch
  • Cost of transmission congestion and losses
  • Financial transmission rights (FTRs) for transmission congestion hedging
  • Day-ahead and real-time market, scheduling, and dispatch
  • Capacity market
  • Ancillary services – whose responsibilities?
  • Ancillary services market
  • Comparison of markets offered by RTOs/ISOs in the U.S.
  • Review questions


9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Central Time

Review of Previous Day; Opportunities for Questions and Discussion on Previous Day’s Material 

Regional Wholesale Electricity Market Basics – Continued 

  • Overview of generator/load offer/bidding considerations, bid and offer curves, and three-part bid
  • Generator capacity dispatch range, variable cost components, start-up cost, no load cost, and ramp rate concepts
  • Overview of RTO/ISO financial settlement
  • Review questions

Risk Management and Credit Requirements 

  • Potential risks 
  • Overview of risk hedging tools for real-time and bilateral markets: FTRs, virtual trading, options, futures, and SWAPs 
  • Credit requirements
  • Review questions