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States Ranked on Smart Grid Progress

Nov. 20, 2014
California and Texas tied for the highest overall score.

The GridWise Alliance and the Smart Grid Policy Center, today announced the release of the 2014 Grid Modernization Index (GMI). The GMI evaluates and ranks states based on their progress in modernizing their electric systems with smart grid technologies.

The GMI applies a clearly defined set of criteria to evaluate the progress of state grid modernization efforts in three key areas: policy, customer engagement and grid operations. This year's Index ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  As in 2013, California and Texas tied for the highest overall score, with Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Nevada, the District of Columbia, Arizona, and Virginia rounding out the top 10.

"The rapid evolution of our electricity supply and the increasing engagement of consumers, as owners of distributed energy resources, have major implications for the reliability, resiliency, and security of the electric grid," said Becky Harrison, CEO of the GridWise Alliance. "Investments in the modernization of both the transmission and distribution grids are critical to enable the effective and efficient integration of these new supply and demand options. The States have a primary role in establishing the policies, strategies and providing the regulatory oversight for how and when this modernization occurs."

2014 has been an active year for developing grid modernization state policies, investments, and activities. Some of the major state developments worth noting, include:

  • California ’s efforts to address issues associated with an increasing penetration of both central and distributed renewable generation. These efforts include new requirements for utilities to develop plans for achieving new energy storage targets and developing distribution resource plan t o accommodate a greater percentage of distributed energy resources (DERs).
  • Texas continues to lead in the implementation of deregulated retail services and in effectively integrating large-scale wind generation including large-scale energy storage. ERCOT has an effort underway to “rethink” the entire existing set of ancillary services.
  • Illinois’ 2014 GMI ranking having increased by 13 points over its prior year’s ranking clearly reflects the implementation of its "Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act" passed in October 2011.
  • Massachusetts deserves special recognition as a result of having created a Commonwealth-wide Grid Modernization Plan .
  • New York’s Public Service Commission initiated a Statewide Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process in April 2014. This effort will have a significant impact on New York’s grid modernization efforts but, perhaps even more significant ly, is the way in which it might affect other states vie ws on the role of the grid and the grid operator moving forward.
  • Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission has also had an active year, focusing on achieving its energy goals. Increasing penetrations of rooftop solar have led to the need to focus on the modernization of the electric grid to be able to effective y integrate and utilize DERs.

Overall, there is an increasing focus at the state level on DERs to enhance grid resiliency particularly in the Northeast where Hurricane Sandy had such a devastating impact in certain areas. States increasingly recognize that to effectively integrate DERs, the grid will have to be modernized.

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