Update on managing Maui’s renewables with Smart Grid
A few months ago I wrote in the GE blog about the Maui Smart Grid demonstration project. Last week, Mark Niesse of the Associated Press highlighted the project in an article. The NY Times version of article can be found at the link below:
GE is working with the Department of Energy (DOE), Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), the Maui Electric Company (MECO), and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) to develop, test, and deploy the equipment, controls, and communications that will help Maui Electric address some of the challenges associated with managing circuit loads and integrating substantial amounts of wind and solar power into their power system.
Since my last blog entry, our project team at HNEI, HECO, MECO and GE has developed a systems architecture that will allow us to demonstrate this capability in the south Maui region. Being able to control the energy consumption on demand will help MECO manage the demand for electricity when the wind and solar power is dropping or when the peak load is excessively high. As the content of island’s wind and solar power increases this could be another resource that MECO could rely upon instead of firing up generation or ramping up generation that is already on-line.
The resources being considered for the project include a Distribution Management System (DMS), equipped with the capabilities to monitor and control distributed resources, such as residential Home Energy Management Systems, commercial loads, distributed solar power, and other devices in the distribution system, including capacitor banks and voltage regulators.
Over the next few months our team will complete the system design and begin the development activities with our GE Transmission & Distribution business. Successful interoperability testing of the equipment with MECO’s operations system will result in deployment in late 2011 with performance being monitored over the following year.
- Smart Grid to manage variability of very high levels of wind and solar power
- Smart Grid Solutions to Enable More Renewable Energy
- Exploring Microgrids to Promote Higher Penetration of Renewables
- Integrating renewables into the grid while maintaining or improving reliability
- Direct connection of renewables to an HVDC grid