Hawaiian Electric selected to help develop microgrid map to improve resilience on Oahu

Release Date: 4/26/2021

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HONOLULU, April 26, 2021 – Hawaiian Electric will help identify areas on Oahu that are optimal for developing microgrids to build a more resilient electric grid. The mapping is one of 11 initiatives selected as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s inaugural Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP).

Under the project, Hawaiian Electric will leverage the expertise of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, DOE, and national labs to advance clean energy solutions and improve resilience. Microgrids serve areas that are connected to the electric grid yet can be islanded during an outage to continue providing electricity through a variety of resources, including solar panels, a battery and backup generator.

“We’re honored to be among first to participate in ETIPP. This is an incredible opportunity to co-develop a map that pinpoints areas suited for microgrids,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of planning and technology. “This project would identify opportunities for rapid development of microgrids that would provide resilience to communities.”

Hawaiian Electric hopes to reduce initial barriers and complexities with a map that takes into account the technical and practical viability of microgrid development. Microgrids are best suited to areas prone to prolonged outages during weather events, with clusters of customers and potential availability of renewable energy resources.

The ETIPP project, which was proposed by Hawaiian Electric with the support of the Hawaii State Energy Office, the Division of Consumer Advocacy, and Ulupono Initiative, will last approximately 12 to 18 months. The map would allow developers to contact potential microgrid participants and work with Hawaiian Electric to apply for the development of a specific microgrid.

Hawaiian Electric and the state Division of Consumer Advocacy have led a working group to develop a proposed tariff that incorporates stakeholder feedback and allows non-utility entities to develop microgrids using Hawaiian Electric’s distribution infrastructure. This proposed tariff leads the country in concept and enablement of microgrids.