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January 24, 2011

Ten States Smartly Planning Their Smart Grid Execution



TMC’s smart grid contributor and co-founder of Intelligent Communications Partners (News - Alert), Jon Arnold, met with TMC’s CEO, Rich Tehrani, in the spring of 2010, and discussed that the key to real growth in the smart grid industry – the kind that creates profits – lies in end user demand materializing. They talked about “how with smart grid, AMI deployments today are comparable to where VoIP was in its early days. The technology holds great promise, but is not yet widely used. Furthermore, we're even seeing cases of consumer pushback where smart meters are leading to higher energy bills. This has been occurring in both the U.S. and Canada, and is an important issue to address for mainstream adoption to occur.”

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GE held a consumer survey in March of 2010. The results relayed the message that consumers are aware of smart grid, they're ready to deploy smart devices, and want to be active participants in making the U.S. smarter about both energy usage and generation. Those are pretty good building blocks to have in place. However, incorporating smart grid technology is a long-term process, and utilities are being cautious about rolling out programs.

Nonetheless, continued state belief and involvement in smart grid energy will lay the groundwork for market development. Below are the 10 states involved and growing in the smart grid market.

  1. California
  2. Colorado
  3. Florida
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Jersey
  6. New York
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Texas

As smart grid analyst, Stephen Munro, commented in a statement, “These 10 states are the laboratories for U.S. smart grid policy, and their influence on the pace and scope of deployment is durable and growing. Smart grid technology players will look to current state regulations for near-term activity, as well as to anticipate how smart grid initiatives will adapt on a broader scale.”

All of the above 10 states are influential in the growth and adoption of smart grid, but not all are equal. California is leading with a metering goal of 21 million, while Texas is looking for a metering goal of 7 million. California’s metering infrastructure is long past start, allowing utilities to start thinking about electric vehicles, energy efficiency, etc. Texas has a smart grid portal for residents and a regulatory implementation team for charging electric vehicles.

Although these 10 states are in the forefront of smart grid evolution, many have faced consumer complaints that smart meters don’t measure correctly and increased their utility bills. As Arnold warns the smart meter health debate is back in the public eye as well, thanks largely to a report from the California Council on Science and Technology. Last week they issued the first draft of a report titled, “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters,” which the public is welcome to comment on until Jan. 31.

So the question remains do these 10 states reconsider their smart grid actions and plans, or do they go where the other 40 states have not gone before?


Jaclyn Allard is a TMCnet copy editor. She most recently worked on the production team at Juran Institute, a quality consulting firm producing its own training and marketing materials. Previously, she interned at Curbstone Press, a nonprofit publishing press in Willimantic, CT, and fulfilled the role of Editor-in-Chief for the literature and arts journal published by the University of Connecticut. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard
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