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California still reigns in grid modernization efforts

The non-profit GridWise Alliance recently released its Grid Modernization Index in collaboration with Clean Edge Inc., a clean energy group based in Portland, ranking California first in the nation for its steps to modernize the electric grid.

The 30-plus page report from the GridWise Alliance, which represents stakeholders that design, build and operate the electric grid, takes a deep dive into grid modernization efforts across the country and ranks them by state. This year’s other top winners include Illinois, Texas, Maryland, Oregon, Arizona, the District of Columbia, New York, Nevada and Delaware.

The top 10 spans red and blue states as well as states with regulated and non-regulated utilities.

“Years ago I learned that major decisions like this are driven by three primary factors, institutional perspective, personal perspective, and analytic perspective,” Steve Hauser, CEO of the GridWise Alliance, told Daily Energy Insider. “Often the most attention is paid to the latter. Does it work, is it cost effective, who benefits and how much?”

The rankings are based on performance in three categories: State Support, Customer Engagement and Grid Operations. A provided summary breaks the findings down into seven key takeaways about grid modernization on the whole, including:

– an accelerated pace of modernization

– a sharper focus on modernization spurred by increases of cyber mischief and natural disasters

– traditionally leading states continue to lead, as many states are just starting to modernize

– some early leaders are starting to slow their pace of modernization

– utilities are becoming more interested in addressing customer demands along with managing their own usage

– clean energy targets by states, cities, and corporations are a driving force behind DERs

California was the overall winner for the second time in a row. “California has procurement targets for electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. It also requires its three IOUs (investor-owned utilities) to submit detailed plans for siting, valuing, integrating, and managing demand-side resources,” the report said.

California’s score of 82 came in 9 points ahead of Illinois, its next closest rival. The Illinois NextGrid program helped the state gain favor. The program includes an “18 month consumer focused study to address critical issues facing Illinois’ electric utility industry in the coming decade and beyond.” The Illinois Commerce Commission is managing the study.

Read full article at Daily Energy Insider