Intelligent energy storage leader Stem, Inc. has been selected as a partner by Hawaiian Electric Companies to help the utility integrate distributed resources and improve grid planning. The partnership is part of a research program funded by DOE SHINES to the tune of $2.43 million, with another contribution of the same amount by the utility. (Actually, there were 6 total awardees which received funds from the program.)
SHINES is the first DOE funding effort which is only about the union of energy storage and renewable electricity. The Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV program is sort of self-explanatory. It is a DOE program that supports adding energy storage to solar PV projects for the obvious reason that sunlight is not available 24 hours a day, so any excess electricity that can be stored would be beneficial.
“The distribution grid today is trying to cope with rapid increases in bi-directional flow of distributed generation resources. Because of limited point-to-point visibility and controls to grid operation centers on distribution grids, a sudden influx or drop off of DG in local pockets can have adverse and costly impacts,” explained Dora Nakafuji, the Director of Hawaiian Electric’s Renewable Energy Planning Division.
O’ahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island are the locations of some of the local businesses that Stem will work with to manage electricity more efficiently during the three year project, and Stem will develop a unified management platform for the utility as well.
Stem systems include battery storage, which is used to provide auxiliary electricity when peak demand is occurring, in order to avoid peak demand charges. In fact, Stem has already successfully installed its technology for a different O’ahu project. Software and analytics provide the ability to more efficiently manage electricity consumption, which can also save money.
Hawaiian Electric Industries supplies electricity to about 95% of the Hawaiian population, with the exception of the island of Kauai which has its own utility, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. HEI employs over 2,000 people.
Hawaii wants to achieve 100% renewable electricity, so integrating new electricity management technologies is an important piece of the puzzle.
Image Credit: Stem