This talk will point out some key drawbacks of today’s modeling and control underlying hierarchical electric power system operations and planning as the hidden roadblocks on the way to decarbonization. They could be overcome by enhancing today’s information exchange and control. This can be done by revealing and utilizing inherent structure-preserving features of complex physical systems, and based on this, by establishing multi-layered energy modeling. Each module (component, control area, non-utility-owned entities) can be characterized in terms of its interaction variable, and higher-level models can be used to understand the interaction dynamics between different modules. Once the structure is understood, we propose nonlinear energy control for these modules which supports feed-forward self-adaptation to ensure feasible interconnected system. Based on these technology agnostic structures it becomes possible to expand today’s Balancing Authorities (BA) to multi-layered interactive intelligent Balancing Authorities (iBAs) and to introduce protocols for flexible utilization of diverse technologies over broad ranges of temporal and spatial conditions.