Smart Grid Japan-US Island Grid Project Launched In Hawaii

Hawaii is the chosen location for a Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project cooperation studying and showcasing smart grid technologies and electric vehicles.

Hitachi, Ltd. announced December 17 that it has begun operations on the demonstration site for the Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project on Maui Island in collaboration with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Cyber Defense Institute, Inc.

The goal of this Project, explained Hitachi, will be to demonstrate smart grid technologies that will enable the efficient use of renewable energy and will contribute to the implementation of a low-carbon social infrastructure system in island regions.

Per the company, the demonstration site has been designed to respond to the rapidly changing demands in the renewable energy market, which will be made possible through the use of electric vehicles (EV) and other innovative technologies.

The demonstration site is scheduled to be in operation between December 17, 2013, and the end of March 2015.

Hitachi added the goal of this site is to build a business model for future “Island Smart Grids” that will be built in other sub-tropical regions with environmental conditions similar to Maui.

According to Maui Electric Company, in 2012, renewable energy accounted for 21 percent of the total energy supply on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and current plans call for at least 40 percent of increased demand for electrical power throughout the entire state of Hawaii to be met with the use of renewable energy by 2030.

In the backdrop of the growing adoption of renewable energy, in 2011, NEDO initiated the Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project (commonly referred to as the “JUMPSmartMaui” Project) to resolve the issues related to the use of these new energy sources. As the company with primary responsibility for this Project, Hitachi explained it oversees all aspects of Project activities, and has been working on the construction of the demonstration site in collaboration with the Mizuho Bank and the Cyber Defense Institute, along with the state of Hawaii, the County of Maui, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc., the University of Hawaii, and the American national research laboratories.

In order to create a smart grid for island regions using EV, Hitachi has established an EV Energy Control Center (EVECC), and has already put in place a Distribution Management System (DMS) to control power distribution systems in the Kihei district on the south side of Maui, and the Energy Management System–Plus (EMS-Plus).

Per Hitachi, the goal is to control the balance of supply and demand in electric power systems and support the efficient operations of renewable energy.

Up until now, Hitachi said it has involved the public to be part of the demonstration on a volunteer basis and participate in the demonstrations primarily focused on the EV users on the island of Maui. Also, regular residents/consumers interested in participating in control demonstrations for electric water heaters installed in private residences in the Kihei area will also be involved in the demonstration.

Hitachi has also promoted the installation of rapid EV charging stations, as well as complying with American cyber security standards, in order to ensure the safety of systems operating throughout the demonstration site and throughout the duration of the demonstration project.

To date, Hitachi had already confirmed approximately 150 volunteers as users of EV, and confirmed approximately 40 residential households interested in participating in control demonstration using electric water heaters.

In order to promote further demonstration, the company plans to secure 200 volunteers as EV users and 40 volunteer user households in total.

20 EV charging stands have been installed at five existing rapid EV charging stations, and there are plans to establish 20 other charging stations in the future.

On-site demonstrations will use wind power generation systems and power systems installed on the island of Maui, which generate a total of 72,000 kilowatt of power.