U.S. and Japan to collaborate on Maui smart grid project


Tokyo, Japan and Maui, HI, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 19, 2011 – A consortium of six Japanese and American companies has been selected for a smart grid project on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

The companies are Hitachi, Ltd., which will act as the coordinator of the project, Cyber Defense Institute, Inc., JFE Engineering Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd., and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd. The project will be spearheaded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which will cooperate with the U.S. State of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., the University of Hawaii, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The companies will conduct a feasibility study expected to be completed by the middle of September 2011. Based on the results of the feasibility study, the project is expected to be implemented by the end of March 2015.

The project will be aimed at demonstrating a world-leading smart grid on Maui. On this island 15 percent of the electricity supply is already generated by renewable energy, and there are plans to increase this percentage going forward. The goal is to verify cutting edge technologies in a smart grid under the use of large volumes of renewable energy already in place, contribute to smart grid standards, and implement a low carbon social infrastructure system that efficiently uses renewable energy on a remote island where electricity costs are relatively high.

The six participating companies will build and test a system that applies the latest technologies that will be utilized, including power distribution control, demand side load control, control ICT platform, electric vehicles (EVs) operation and charging control, multiple type of rapid chargers, and information and telecommunications technologies. The part of the demonstration plan includes utilization of the EVs as the stability function for the grid. These technologies will be implemented to eliminate the factors in causing power voltage impacts in the distribution grids and fluctuations in power frequency when large volumes of renewable energy with weather-dependent tendency are added to a power grid.

Specific projects and the participating companies are as follows:

  • EV-based remote island smart grid model on Maui (Hitachi, Sharp, and JFE Engineering)
  • Smart grid model at a substation with one distribution grid level in Kihei (Hitachi)
  • Smart grid project for low voltage transformer level systems (Hitachi)
  • Comprehensive research.

The analysis of the results will be as follows:

  • Analysis and evaluation of results from smart grid demonstration (all companies)
  • Evaluation of cyber security (Hitachi, HP Japan, and Cyber Defense Institute)
  • Evaluation of the economic viability of the system (Mizuho Corporate Bank)
  • Creation and verification of a cutting edge low carbon social infrastructure system business model on a remote island (Hitachi, Mizuho Corporate Bank).

Other support will be provided by the Okinawa Electric Power Company, Incorporated as advisor for power grid technology on remote island, Advanced Energy Company as advisor for the EV charger business, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. as adviser for EV telematics adaptation to the project and EV charging and discharging technology, and Verizon as advisor on communications solutions and network technology and services.