California tops Gridwise Modernization Index Again

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California continued its reign while the top four states held sway in Gridwise Allliance’s Grid Modernization Index released Wednesday.

The pace of grid modernization has accelerated in recent years, the report noted, as states work to accommodate distributed energy resources, microgrids and smart metering infrastructure. The Golden State has ranked first in every one of the four Gridwise rankings.

“California’s aggressive move to enact strong policies … have resulted in consistently high rankings,” the report reads. “California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), carbon reduction goals, and strong DERs market have forced it to move forward quickly on all fronts. Its utilities are required to submit plans to integrate DERs and other demand management resources. California also is preparing to move to default time-of-use (TOU) rates in 2019.”

Illinois, Texas and Maryland took second through fourth, respectively, same as they did in the last grid modernization index two years ago. Oregon replaced Delaware at the fifth spot, with the latter falling to 10th.

Gridwise lauded Illinois’ customer engagement and grid operations rankings for adding to the state’s already healthy state support.

“Finally, in March 2017, Illinois joined the growing list of states with a ‘utility of the future’ proceeding by launching its NextGrid study, which is being conducted by the Illinois Commerce Commission and expected to last about 18 months,” the report reads. “As the only state that operates its own electric grid fully within its borders, Texas has addressed grid modernization with a key focus on enhancing resilience.”

Rhode Island was the index’s biggest mover, jumped 25 spots from 48th to 23rd this time around. The report authors cited the state’s effort in developing strategic energy goals and adoption of clean energy measures. Colorado, Massachuetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New York and Washington state all rose at least five ranking places.

South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and North Dakota—four states bordering where the Great Plains meets the Rockies—were ranked the lowest for grid modernization efforts. None of those states had grid modernizations proceedings going on at the regulatory level as of October, according to the report.

The index calculated factors such as state support, customer engagement and grid operations. Project team member include representatives from Accenture, Exelon, Oncor, Avista, ConEdison, Aclara, Pacific Gas & Electric, ABB and numerous other companies and utilities.

Gridwise’s fourth grid modernization index was done in partnership with CleanEdge and Navigant. Go to gridwise.org for more information.

The Gridwise Alliance formed in 2003 and includes members such as service providers, investor-owned utilities, cooperatives and advocacy firms.

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