UH PRESIDENT PRAISES MAUI SMART GRID PROJECT
University of Hawai`i President M.R.C. Greenwood spoke in Wailuku on November 20, 2012, as part of MEDB’s Innovation Series, on the economic benefits of research and development. She singled out the Maui Smart Grid Project as an example of a demonstration project that can foster innovation and produced immediate and long-term economic and scientific benefits.
Here’s President Greenwood’s full statement on the project: “The University of Hawai‘i’s Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute is proud to be working on the important Maui Smart Grid Project, to validate the use of smart grid technology to reduce peak demand and facilitate the integration of renewable technologies such as wind and solar. With the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Maui Smart Grid Project involves residential utility customer volunteers to demonstrate the ability of the grid to utilize more renewable energy. We also appreciate the support of our project partners, including Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, Silver Springs Networks, and Alstom. With a total expenditure around $13 million, with about half coming from our industry partners, this project should end up helping in other regions of the country.” Mahalo, President Greenwood!
Note from the Project Partners
A Smart Meter provides significant data on a project volunteer’s energy use, which is accessible through the Web Portal and the optional In-Home Display. Seeing this data in near real time allows a project volunteer to make better-informed decisions on energy use. In the future, having a Smart Meter will allow for faster power restoration following outages. The optional Smart Thermostat helps a volunteer make more efficient use of the home air-conditioning system. The optional Water Heater Load Control helps a volunteer reduce energy consumption by allowing the utility to disable the water heater during critical electric system events.
MECO rates are reflected on the In- Home Displays at the start of the first new billing period after installation. If you are a volunteer and are not seeing pricing data, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808.270.6803.
FAQs for Maui Smart Grid Project Volunteers
Q: Where are my energy audit results?
A: If an energy audit was conducted at your home, you should have received the results in an email from Sustainable Living Institute of Maui this fall. Please let us know if you need the results re-sent.
Q: How do I access my energy Web Portal?
A: MECO has sent each volunteer a username and password, via email, to allow access to the Web Portal at mauismartgrid.com. Please let us know if you need the results re-sent.
Q: Is the data of my usage secure?
A: Yes, Smart Grid data is covered by MECO’s security policy and cannot be shared without the account holder’s written consent.
KEEP IN TOUCH!
Feedback from volunteers and other members of the community is a key part of this demon- stration project. The December 4th volunteer meeting had some great dialogue, and we want to keep the discussion going. Please send us an email or comment on
our Facebook page whenever you have a question or comment.
DID YOU KNOW…
Photovoltaic systems are not currently connected to the Smart Grid. As part of the Maui Smart Grid Project, a Photovoltaic Meter is an optional feature for those with installed PV systems to help monitor energy production. Smart Grid technology will eventually allow for PV integration.
Mahalo to everyone who attended our volunteer meeting on December 4, 2012. Here’s some of what we heard.
Volunteer Tom Croly: “I got a lot out of the in-home device. I was able to say, ‘Oh, this thing uses this much power.’ I was shocked by a few of the things I found, how much power my dryer actually used, and the portal showed me that every load of laundry that I dried cost me $1.50. And that was an interesting thing to put a number on.”
Volunteer Kristin Holmes: “I want to do anything I can to advance out energy development, and I really support the idea that MECO is doing something progressive to make the system better.”
HNEI’s Leon Roose: “About 15 percent of total energy use is coming out of renewable resources, but the rest—84 percent—is oil. When you look at that big picture, what’s the main driver of the high bills, it’s the oil. We’ve got to fundamentally change that. . . . I kind of look at the Smart Grid as an energy internet. It’s bringing communications, and merging that with the energy infrastructure we have. The ability now for customers to see what their usage is and to begin to understand, that knowledge is extremely empowering.”