TODAY’S STUDY: The Work On Tomorrow’s Grid So Far
50 States of Grid Modernization; Q2 2017 Quarterly Report
Autumn Proudlove Brian Lips David Sarkisian Achyut Shrestha, August 3, 2017 (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center)
What Is Grid Modernization?
Grid modernization is a broad term, lacking a universally accepted definition. In this report, the authors use the term grid modernization broadly to refer to actions making the electricity system more resilient, responsive, and interactive. Specifically, in this report grid modernization includes legislative and regulatory actions addressing: (1) smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure, (2) utility business model reform, (3) regulatory reform, (4) utility rate reform, (5) energy storage, (6) microgrids, and (7) demand response.
The purpose of this report is to provide state lawmakers and regulators, electric utilities, the advanced energy industry, and other energy stakeholders with timely, accurate, and unbiased updates about how states are choosing to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with grid modernization. This report catalogues proposed and enacted legislative, regulatory, and rate design changes affecting grid modernization during the most recent quarter. The 50 States of Grid Modernization report series provides regular quarterly updates of grid modernization policy developments, keeping stakeholders informed and up to date.
The authors identified relevant policy changes and deployment proposals through state utility commission docket searches, legislative bill searches, popular press, and direct communications with stakeholders and regulators in the industry.
This report addresses several questions about the changing U.S. electric grid: • How are states adjusting traditional utility planning processes to better allow for consideration of advanced grid technologies? • What changes are being made to state regulations and wholesale market rules to allow market access for distributed energy resources? • How are states and utilities reforming the traditional utility business model and rate designs? • What policy actions are states taking to grow markets for energy storage and other advanced grid technologies? • Where and how are states and utilities proposing deployment of advanced grid technologies, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response programs?
This report focuses on cataloguing and describing important proposed and adopted policy changes related to grid modernization and distributed energy resources, excluding policies specifically intended to support only solar technologies. While some areas of overlap exist, actions related to distributed solar policy and rate design are tracked separately in the 50 States of Solar report series, and are generally not included in this report. In general, this report considers an “action” to be a relevant (1) legislative bill that has been introduced or (2) a regulatory docket, utility rate case, or rulemaking proceeding. Only statewide actions and those related to investor-owned utilities are included in this report.
Specifically, actions tracked in this issue include:
Studies and Investigations
Legislative or regulatory-led efforts to study energy storage, grid modernization, utility business model reform, or alternative rate designs, e.g., through a regulatory docket or a cost-benefit analysis.
Planning and Market Access
Changes to utility planning processes, including integrated resource planning, distribution system planning, and evaluation of non-wires alternatives, as well as changes to state and wholesale market regulations enabling market access.
Utility Business Model and Rate Reform
Proposed or adopted changes to utility regulation and rate design, including performance based ratemaking, decoupling, time-varying rates, and residential demand charges. Time-varying rate and residential demand charge proposals are only documented if they are being implemented statewide, the default option for all residential customers of an investorowned utility, or a notable pilot program intended to soon become a default option. Actions related to inclining or declining block rates are not included in this report.
Grid Modernization Policies
New state policy proposals or changes to existing policies related to grid modernization, including energy storage targets, interconnection standards, and energy storage compensation policies.
Financial Incentives for Energy Storage and Advanced Grid Technologies
New statewide incentives or changes to existing incentives for energy storage, microgrids, and other advanced grid technologies.
Deployment of Advanced Grid Technologies
Utility-initiated requests, as well as proposed legislation, to implement demand response programs or to deploy advanced metering infrastructure, smart grid technologies, microgrids, or energy storage.
This report excludes utility proposals for grid investments that do not include any specific grid modernization component, as outlined above, as well as projects that have already received legislative or regulatory approval. Actions related exclusively to pumped hydroelectric storage or electric vehicles are not covered by this report. While actions taken by municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are not comprehensively tracked in this report, particularly noteworthy or high-impact actions will be covered. The report also excludes changes to policies and rate design for distributed generation customers; these changes are covered in the 50 States of Solar quarterly report.
Q2 2017 Grid Modernization Action
In the second quarter of 2017, 36 states plus DC took a total of 181 policy and deployment actions related to grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response. Table 1 provides a summary of state and utility actions on these topics. Of the 181 actions catalogued, the most common were related to deployment (40), followed by policies (38), and studies and investigations (29).
Top 5 Grid Modernization Developments Of Q2 2017
Five of the quarter’s top policy developments are highlighted below.
Massachusetts DOER Adopts 200 MWh Energy Storage Target
In June 2017, following the completion of a detailed energy storage study, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources adopted a mandatory energy storage target of 200 MWh to be met by January 2020. Pending legislation calls for the Department to establish a subsequent target to be reached by January 2025 and 2030. Massachusetts is the third state to adopt a formal energy storage target.
Nevada Enacts Suite of Energy Storage and Grid Modernization Bills
In Q2 2017, Nevada’s Governor signed multiple bills relating to energy storage and grid modernization into law. The enacted legislation includes an energy storage study, a potential energy storage target, an energy storage rebate program, and amendments to the integrated resource planning process.
Vermont Launches Grid Modernization Proceeding
Vermont became the latest state to initiate a grid modernization proceeding, with the Public Utility Commission (formerly the Public Service Board) opening a docket in June 2017. The Commission is looking to reexamine the state’s regulatory structure in response to recent transformations in technology, state policy, and more.
Maryland and North Carolina Initiate Energy Storage Studies
In June 2017, the North Carolina state legislature passed H.B. 589, a broad solar policy reform bill which also includes a directive for the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to conduct an energy storage study upon raising $75,000 in non-state matching funds. In late July, Governor Cooper signed H.B. 589 into law. The Maryland legislature also initiated an energy storage study with the signing of H.B. 773 in May. Maryland’s study will examine regulatory reforms and market incentives to encourage storage deployment.
Hawaii Utilities File Revised Grid Modernization Plan
In late June 2017, Hawaii’s investor-owned utilities submitted their revised grid modernization plan, after the Public Utilities Commission rejected the utilities’ original plan in January 2017. The new plan comes in at about $205 million, as opposed to the $340 million estimated for the original plan. The new plan includes a near-term (2018-2023) Grid Modernization Roadmap, which focuses on mitigating current service quality issues to allow for greater adoption of distributed energy resources.
Most Active States And Subtopics Of Q2 2017
The ten states taking the greatest number of actions related to grid modernization in Q2 2017 can be seen in Figure 2. New York and Massachusetts saw the most action during the quarter with 25 and 16 actions, respectively. The most common types of actions across the country were advanced metering infrastructure deployment (19 actions), smart grid deployment (13), and grid modernization investigations (13)…
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