Power flow control technologies are becoming more prevalent in the grid but are also increasing in importance due to the growing resource uncertainty due to distributed demand response products and renewable resources. Even though flexible transmission assets exist in the high voltage transmission network, the flexibility of such devices is neglected in modern day optimization models for generation scheduling and reliability assessment. The control and settings of such devices are predetermined, which limits the utilization of these powerful power flow control devices. For such a complex and evolving engineered system, full utilization of power flow control technologies are essential to ensure efficiency and reliability, especially for systems with distributed and renewable resources. This presentation will give a brief overview of research on transmission topology control and then will focus on the modeling of distributed flexible AC transmission system (FACTS) devices. For example, modeling distributed variable impedance based FACTS devices converts the standard linearized network flow model for the power grid, a linear program (LP), into a nonlinear program (NLP), which can be further transformed into a mixed integer linear program (MILP). While the MILP is a great challenge to solve, a simple LP based heuristic will be presented, which has obtained the global optimal solution to the MILP 99% of the time. With this heuristic approach, real-time operations will be able to capture the flexibility of this power flow control technology and achieve similar solution times by maintaining a linearized OPF formulation. To end the presentation, Hedman will also discuss key challenges associated to stochastic optimization for the electric power sector that are not currently being addressed.