As an emergency preparedness nerd, I am “all in” when it comes to grid modernization within the electric utility industry. The US infrastructure is aging, and needs to be improved due to the increasing frequency of severe weather.
Until recently, there was no easy way to track the evolution of modernization efforts over time, but the good news is that the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (CETC) has started publishing a quarterly report (50 States of Grid Modernization) that accomplishes this goal by tracking policy activity across every state. The rationale for tracking state policy activity is that policy enables technology, so without the right policy, barriers to adoption will persist.
Current Status of Grid Modernization Policy Activity
One of the best things the report does is attempt to standardize the definition of grid modernization as an interconnected web, as opposed to a traditional one-way power flow.
The report indicates that 37 states had activity in 1Q 2017, much of which was focused on advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). In all, there were 148 passed or pending actions initiated in the quarter.
According to the report, there were 6 policy actions particularly noteworthy:
- Maryland – passed a tax credit for energy storage (25% of installed costs)
- Illinois – created a working group to develop new grid modernization policies
- Ohio – created a working group to develop new grid modernization policies
- New Hampshire – the state’s Grid Modernization Working Group submitted its final report of a multi-year study that outlined recommendations for accelerating modernization
- Washington – created a draft policy statement on handling energy storage in integrated resource plans
- New York – started requiring a value-based approach to distributed energy resource (DER) compensation
All in all, things seem to be moving in the right direction. And the faster it moves, the better when it comes to emergency preparedness.