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Hawaiian Electric Companies submit plan to modernize island grids

By Staff | Sep 7, 2017

HONOLULU – The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their Grid Modernization Strategy with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Aug. 29, providing a roadmap for building more resilient and renewable-ready island grids, HECO reported.

The filing follows the submission of the companies’ draft report in late June. The draft was posted online and presented at four public meetings on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu to review the strategy with customers, answer questions and receive comments. Dozens of written comments and transcripts of the public meetings are included in a separate document that accompanied the filing.

The plan, “Modernizing Hawai’i’s Grid for Our Customers,” outlines near-term initiatives that strengthen the grid through investments in technology to enable more renewable energy resources to be safely and efficiently integrated with the grid, including private rooftop solar.

Longer term, the strategy is to continue to evolve the grid as a platform to enable greater customer choice and support statewide economic development and “smart communities” efforts that rely on robust data and energy management systems.

The companies estimate it will cost $205 million to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years.

The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources (customer-sited and grid-sourced), increase reliability, and give customers new choices to manage their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide; i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or electricity usage data. ?

Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption. ?

Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration, to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer ?resources. ?

Enhanced outage management and notification technology. ?

To read the filing, use the following links: www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod, www.hawaiielectriclight.com/gridmod, or www.mauielectric.com/gridmod.