June 3, 2011 – Tokyo and Maui, Hawaii have partnered together using GE Energy and enlisting the services of companies: Hitachi, Ltd., Cyber Defense Institute, Inc., JFE Engineering Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd., and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd. is the project’s coordinator and the project is headed by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). These companies are also relying on their cooperation with the U.S. State of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO), the University of Hawaii, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Currently the feasible study of the Smart Grid is underway. It is to be completed by September 2011 and if the results are as expected, the project is to be completed by the end of March 2015.
Maui, Hawaii was chosen for its remote location, it being the top state in dependency on fossil fuels, its 90 percent import of power energy statistic and also because Maui already produces 15-30 percent of the island’s energy as alternate sources. These combined factors allow for the trial of the Smart Grid to be implemented and it will build on alternate sources, lower vehicle emissions and increase sustainable energy uses.
Other sources are being evaluated and companies are partnering up to increase the reliance on the Smart Grid. Companies such as Verizon, which will ensure that all systems come from one place and work.
The estimated cost of the Smart Grid is $14 million. A federal Department of Energy grant paid for about half while General Electric and Hawaiian Electric supplied the rest along with personnel.
The combined efforts of so many power players to create and install the Smart Grid in Maui is likely to lead the way in alternative and sustainable energy use. This trial run will be the breakthrough in world technologies that changes energy consumption everywhere.