States Taking Grid Modernization Actions At ‘Astounding Rate’: Report


The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, has released its Q1 2018 edition of “The 50 States of Grid Modernization,” showing that 37 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to grid modernization during the first quarter of this year.

The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on grid modernization, utility business model and rate reforms, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response.

The greatest number of actions on grid modernization during the quarter related to advanced metering infrastructure rules, energy storage deployment, grid modernization investigations, and utility business model reforms.

A total of 259 grid modernization actions were taken during Q1 2018, up from 196 actions during the previous quarter. This also represents a 75% increase over the 148 actions taken in Q1 2017. New York, California and Massachusetts took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Hawaii, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Q1 2018 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Grid Modernization (Source: NCCETC)

The report identifies five trends in grid modernization activity taken in Q1 2018:

  • Grid resilience planning emerging as a new area of focus among states;
  • States working to define the scope of grid modernization;
  • A growing number of states addressing access to system and customer data;
  • States expressing both support for and concerns about advanced metering infrastructure; and
  • Energy storage taking a central role in grid modernization, with a majority of U.S. states taking action on energy storage during the quarter.

“Grid modernization activity is increasing at an astounding rate,” says Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and senior manager of policy research at NCCETC. “In particular, we are seeing a broadening of state activities, with individual states addressing several different aspects of grid modernization simultaneously.”

The report notes the top five policy developments of Q1 2018:

  • An Arizona regulator proposed a 3 GW energy storage target and a clean peak standard;
  • Hawaii initiated a transition to performance-based ratemaking;
  • Texas regulators denied AEP’s proposed battery storage projects while opening a rulemaking proceeding related to energy storage;
  • Virginia enacted legislation related to electric distribution grid transformation projects; and
  • The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio concluded its PowerForward grid modernization proceeding.

“The large number of actions dealing with energy storage shows how the technology has emerged as an important part of the grid modernization picture,” notes David Sarkisian, senior policy analyst at NCCETC. “Regulators are actively considering how to incorporate energy storage into electricity markets and utility planning frameworks.”

More on the report can be found here.

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