Hawaiian Electric

Hawaiian Electric is going to deploy 100 edge of network grid optimisation devices (ENGO) and a grid edge management system (GEMS) platform at three O'ahu substations with high penetrations of solar PV.

Varentec, a smart grid technology company, is working with Hawaiian Electric and Elemental Excelerator on the project.

The project is co-funded by Elemental Excelerator, a Hawaii-based growth accelerator,  with aims to minimise voltage fluctuations and allow for additional rooftop solar capacity.

This deployment is an expansion of a successful pilot project that started in August 2016 and includes the use of ENGO devices in a neighborhood in Kailua, O'ahu.

Varentec's ENGO devices sense and regulate the distribution voltage, while the GEMS platform offers fleet management and data analytics.

The combined solution will help Hawaiian Electric to minimise voltage fluctuations along the distribution grid and allow for additional rooftop solar capacity while maintaining power quality.

This new project will help validate the additional PV hosting capacity in three different neighborhoods on O'ahu: Kahuku, Waimanalo, and Mānoa, and will be the first of its kind in the world to minimise voltage fluctuations at the edge of the grid as more PV hosting is added to the distribution circuits.

Hawaiian Electric services 95% of Hawaii's customers and, by the end of 2016, had sourced 26% of its power from renewable sources.

"Our first pilot project with Varentec let us test cutting-edge technology to open up capacity for rooftop solar on two PV-saturated circuits and also minimise the need for costly upgrades," said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric Companies senior vice president of planning and technology. "We're excited to expand our pilot into other service areas and learn more about these new technologies as we modernise our electric grid and work toward meeting our state's clean energy goals."

[quote]Hawaiian Electric believes the system-level, dynamic-control technology can address voltage issues at a lower cost to customers than other alternatives considered, according to a company release.

"We are very proud that our technology is helping Hawaiian Electric in its 100% RPS objectives by 2045. Varentec's solution helps the increase of residential PV rooftop into the grid while maintaining a high standard in power quality to Hawaiian Electric customers and meeting Hawaiʻi PUC mandates. We are very fortunate to be working with such a leader in the integration of solar PV. We are confident that the success of this project will be replicated at other utilities striving to maximise on renewable adoption within their service territories," said Guillaume Dufosse, Varentec CEO.

Hawaiʻi's largest electric utility is testing and deploying solutions to integrate new technologies that increase the grid's capacity for intermittent renewable energy.

"We work with entrepreneurs to get their technologies into the hands of the right partners," says Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator. "Varentec's project with Hawaiian Electric is one example of how innovation continues to be critical to addressing some of the world's most important challenges."

Elemental Excelerator is working closely with Hawaiian Electric to help source innovation that can accelerate Hawaiʻi toward its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. Elemental Excelerator and Hawaiian Electric are working together on nearly a dozen projects.