California and Texas lead the U.S. in efforts to modernize their electrical grids with smart grid technologies, according to a newly developed index that evaluates and ranks states.
The Grid Modernization Index, created by GridWise Alliance and Smart Grid Policy Center, evaluates the progress of state grid modernization efforts in three categories: policy, customer engagement and grid operations. California and Texas, which tied for the highest overall score, are far ahead of other top-ranked states, such as Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
The upshot? There's not one perfect approach when it comes to modernizing the grid. Take Texas and California. The two top-ranking states tied in all three categories. And yet, California and Texas took different approaches.
For instance, California regulates it energy market and has one of the most ambitious renewable portfolio standards in America. Texas also an RPS, although it should be noted that legislators introduced a bill to eliminate the mandate.
Texas has relied more on its deregulated energy market to spur the modernization of its grid. The competitive and deregulated markets allow retail power providers to use assets like smart meter deployments to increase customer pricing programs and engagement efforts, Becky Harrison, CEO of the GridWise Alliance said in a prebriefing reported by Greentech Media. That hasn't happened as quickly in California.
Other findings in the 2013 GMI report:
- States that have retail choice, below regional transmission organizations or independent system operators and have renewable portfolio standards ranked higher, an indication that a relationship exists between federal and state policies and greater investments in grid modernization.
- The analysis found no correlation between electricity prices in any customer segment and the GMI scores.
- Highly ranked states had higher scores in engaging customers via education efforts and offering products and services, such as dynamic pricing.
- The 15 highest-scoring states all have deployed smart meters to their residential and small commercial customers to some extent. Ten of the top 15 have installed smart meters for at least 60 percent of their customers.
Graphic: GridWise Alliance