Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission has approved Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) participating in an $11.9 million national smart grid demonstration project that will bring advanced meter technology to every Kaua‘I household. Half of the project will be funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s demonstration project is designed to assist rural utilities like KIUC implement technologies that make the electricity grid more efficient and reliable. KIUC will be replacing about 33,000 electric meters with smart meters, along with an enhanced communications infrastructure that will allow two-way communications.
Mike Yamane, KIUC Chief of Operations and lead engineer on the project, explains, “We are a small island grid and upgrading our electrical grid with smart meters and related technology can make our system more efficient and help integrate new smart appliances, electric cars, and other new and evolving technologies over the coming years. New technology can ultimately result in our members saving money if we are able to better control our islands energy demand and be able to defer investing in baseload conventional generation.”
The new infrastructure enables KIUC to conduct remote meter readings, detect outages at the household level, as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of load control and demand response systems and allow the utility to evaluate alternate rate designs. Deployment is scheduled to begin early in 2012 and take five years to complete. The first phase, expected to take two years will be the installation of new meters at members’ homes and the second, three-year phase will include data gathering and analysis.
Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative is a not-for-profit generation, transmission, and distribution cooperative headquartered in L_hu‘e, Kaua‘i. The co-op serves more than 32,000 electric accounts throughout Kaua‘i. CFor more information, visit www.kiucrenewablesolutions.coop.