The 50 States of Grid Modernization: U.S. Sees Busiest Quarter Yet For State and Utility Grid Modernization Activity

Raleigh, N.C. – (April 30, 2020) The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) released its Q1 2020 edition of The 50 States of Grid Modernization. The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on grid modernization, utility business model and rate reforms, energy storage, microgrids, and demand response.

The report finds that 47 states, as well as the District of Columbia, took actions related to grid modernization during Q1 2020 (see figure below), with the greatest number of actions relating to energy storage deployment, data access policies, utility business model reforms, distribution system planning, and advanced metering infrastructure opt-out rules.

A total of 446 grid modernization actions were taken during Q1 2020, making it the busiest quarter yet since NCCETC began tracking grid modernization activity in 2017. Although grid modernization efforts continue to increase, they are doing so at a slower rate, increasing by 13% over this time last year. New York, California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey.


Q1 2020 Legislative and Regulatory Action on Grid Modernization


The report discusses three trends in grid modernization actions taken in Q1 2020: (1) state regulators developing energy storage interconnection rules; (2) states considering a variety of mechanisms to encourage microgrid development; and (3) proposed grid modernization legislation focusing on energy storage during states’ 2020 legislative sessions.

“Although the COVID-19 crisis has recently slowed activity at state legislatures and utility commissions across the country, a great deal was accomplished during the first quarter of 2020,” observed Brian Lips, Senior Policy Project Manager at NCCETC. “A number of significant bills were enacted in New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, and major decisions were reached by several utility commissions.”

The report notes the top five policy developments of Q1 2020 were:

  • Nevada and Virginia becoming the sixth and seventh states to adopt energy storage targets;
  • The DC Public Service Commission issuing a major grid modernization order;
  • Virginia regulators issuing a decision on Dominion Energy’s Grid Transformation Plan;
  • New Mexico lawmakers enacting a grid modernization roadmap bill; and
  • The Delaware Public Service Commission adopting distribution system planning rules.

“Energy storage has been the focus of the majority of the grid modernization bills we’ve seen introduced so far in 2020,” said Autumn Proudlove, lead author of the report and Senior Manager of Policy Research at NCCETC. “Some of the greatest areas of interest we’re seeing are storage incentive programs, deployment targets, and studies.”

View the 50 States of Grid Modernization Q1 2020 Executive Summary

View and Purchase the 50 States of Grid Modernization Q1 2020 update FULL Report

View other 50 States Reports – Solar, Grid Modernization and Electric Vehicles



The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, sustainable energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the  Center, visit: Twitter: @NCCleanTech