Grid modernization initiatives (aka smart grid) have been undergoing for nearly over a decade in the North America, driven in part by the concern for an aging infrastructure, the ability to manage peak power load, as well as address growing interest for energy conservation and carbon neutralization.

This study analyzes and ranks all 50 states and the steps that have been made till date in terms of implementing improvements to distribution grid, accommodating distributed energy resources (DER), adopting demand side management programs, as well as existing status of grid reliability. The criteria were chosen based on their impact on the smart grid deployment in each state. Furthermore, this study takes a look at the relationship between the regulations and the smart grid programs deployed.

The methodology deployed to rank states on their distributed energy grid index was based on criteria including the impact of regulation and the progress in each and every states' grid infrastructure. Quantitative factor includes installed capacity of DERs, smart meters and other smart grid assets.

Qualitative factor includes regulations, mandates, reliability and resiliency factors such as power interruption, the closure of centralized power plants across the country. Digital Grid Integration– ranking based on the penetration rate of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters, deployment of advanced solutions like sensors, T&D grid automation. DER Implementation– ranking based on deployment of distributed resources including solar, energy storage, and microgrids. Demand Side Management Rollout – ranking based on policies (voluntary or mandatory), and customer engagement such as demand response and virtual power plants. Resiliency and Reliability – ranking based on interruption index and interruption frequency index across the states, closure of centralized power plants including coal and nuclear.

Since smart meter is identified to be the first phase of any smart grid deployment, grids section is given higher weightage following that deployment of DERs and resiliency & reliability. This is attributed to the fact that growing DERs and power outages drive utilities and other stake holders to focus on grid modernization. The final score is the summation of values each of the states scored under regulation and data segment.

Factors considered for ranking the states include
• Does each state have implemented grid modernization programs?
• Are there any policies or financial incentives to drive grid modernization program and deployment of distributed energy resources?
• Are there any specified targets for energy efficiency, customer engagement programs and deployment of DERs?
• Nature of these initiatives and modernization program? Rankings are given based on whether it is mandatory or voluntary?