California, Illinois and Texas lead grid modernization efforts

A new report, released ahead of a conference on grid modernization, lauds California, Illinois and Texas as the three top states leading the grid modernization revolution in the United States.

The fourth annual Grid Modernization Index (GMI-4) report, a collaboration between the GridWise Alliance and Clean Edge, ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based upon the degree to which they are moving toward a modernized electric grid.

Unsurprisingly, given the amount of renewable energy already on it, California snagged the top spot. The state’s rapid acceleration to non-carbon energy sources is pushing California’s grid to modernize more quickly than any other state to accommodate higher penetrations of solar, energy storage and other demand-side resources.

Illinois, though nine points behind California, emerged as a grid-modernization leader in part thanks to the legislature’s strong support through legislation like the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) and participation in the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) NextGrid initiative. And just last week, the state was praised by the Environmental Law & Policy Center for its progressive electricity-generation agenda.

As Texas’ booming solar and wind markets continue to grow, so have their efforts to modernize their grid structure (one that is not connected to the rest of the national grid), making the efforts both easier and more difficult at the same time. As regulators hasten to learn from other states’ efforts, the progress on its efforts are slow and steady.

GMI-4  grades states on a wide range of grid modernization policies, investments, and activities and provides insights into some of the relationships and connections between state policies and regulations, customer engagement, and utility investments in modernizing the grid.

“We are pleased to provide this update to our Grid Modernization Index,” said Steve Hauser, CEO of the GridWise Alliance. “The Alliance is committed to working with all electric industry stakeholders to inform key decisions being made at the state and local level as clean energy, energy storage, EV, and other grid-related technology costs decline.”

The report’s authors believe clean energy targets by states, cities, and corporations are driving utility efforts to accommodate rapid growth in distributed efforts like rooftop solar and wind, among others.

The Grid Modernization Index report is available for download at www.gridwise.org and www.cleanedge.com.