Maui Electric Co. and the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii are deploying a smart grid project on the island of Maui. The project will test the effectiveness of smart grid technologies in helping MECO and its customers reach and exceed the State of Hawaii’s goal of meeting 70% of its energy needs with clean energy by 2030.

The Maui Smart Grid Project will evaluate the use of smart grid technologies to integrate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic, reduce increasing costs and improve management related to rising peak demand, operate the electricity grid more efficiently through improved asset utilization and restore power outages more quickly and safely.

MECO residential customers in the Kihei area of South Maui will have the opportunity to participate in this important project to improve the long-term energy demands for Hawaii in pursuit of the 2030 goal. Volunteer participants will be able to evaluate detailed information of their usage on an energy management web portal and in-home devices such as smart thermostats that will be made available as part of the project.

Silver Spring Networks is developing the customer engagement and education program for the project in close partnership with MECO and HNEI. In addition, Silver Spring will provide its Smart Energy Platform solution that includes CustomerIQ, Silver Spring’s web-based energy management portal, advanced metering, distributed generation monitoring, demand response and distribution automation solutions.

“We want to add as much clean energy as possible to our stand-alone island grid as quickly as possible. So we’re looking to initiatives like the Maui Smart Grid Project to help us ensure our customers continue to receive reliable service while benefiting from increased use of solar and wind power,” said Maui Electric Co.’s President Ed Reinhardt.

The U.S. Department of Energy is funding this initiative as part of a nationwide set of demonstration projects. HNEI and MECO are the lead organizations on the project. Other project partners include the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), County of Maui, Maui Economic Development Board, Sustainable Living Institute of Maui at the University of Hawaii-Maui College, HNU Energy, and SRA International.