The Maui Electric Company (MECO) and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii (HNEI) have selected Silver Spring Networks to deploy a smart grid project on the island of Maui. The project will test the effectiveness of smart grid technologies in helping MECO and its customers reach and exceed the State of Hawaii’s goal of meeting 70 percent of its energy needs with clean energy by 2030.
The Maui Smart Grid Project is designed to use smart grid technologies to integrate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic, which will reduce costs and improve peak demand management and asset utilization.
MECO residential customers in the Kihei region, located on the south side of the island, will have the opportunity to participate in the project.
Silver Spring is developing the customer engagement and education program for the project and will also provide its Smart Energy Platform solution that includes the energy management portal, CustomerIQ.
Silver Spring President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Lang says, “We are pleased to be working with MECO and HNEI in their efforts to better serve their customers and meet the growing energy demands of the island and state. This deployment shows a serious commitment to integrating renewable energy, changing the relationship with MECOs customers and providing Maui and Hawaii with energy independence and cleaner energy, today and in the future.”
Dr. James Griffin, project director for the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii (HNEI) believes that improving each island’s electricity grid “through new smart grid technologies is a key element of Hawaii’s landmark clean energy goals. Through the experiences of Maui residents in this project, we will learn valuable lessons about the best ways to modernize Hawaii’s electricity system.”
Maui Electric Company President Ed Reinhardt adds: “We want to add as much clean energy as possible to our stand-alone island grid as quickly as possible. So we’re looking to initiatives like the Maui Smart Grid Project to help us ensure our customers continue to receive reliable service while benefiting from increased use of solar and wind power,”
The United States Department of Energy is funding the initiative and HNEI and MECO are serving as the lead organizations. Other project partners include the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board, Sustainable Living Institute of Maui at the University of Hawaii-Maui College, HNU Energy, and SRA International.