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Hawaiian Electric Companies submit grid modernization plan to regulator

EBR Staff Writer Published 30 August 2017

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have filed their strategy for modernizing the electric grids in Hawaii with the state regulator Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

According to the electric utility network, the grid modernization strategy it has submitted contains a roadmap for developing grids across its islands to make them more resilient and renewable-ready.

The cost to implement the grid modernization project across the islands over the next six years is pegged at $205m. The scope of the project includes updating of the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and Maui Electric.

Dubbed as “Modernizing Hawaii's Grid for Our Customers”, the strategy highlights near-term initiatives needed for the grid strengthening. It talks about achieving the same by investments in technology to facilitate more renewable energy resources including safe and efficient integration of private rooftop solar into the grid.

The short-term plans include strategic distribution of smart meters; use of advanced inverter technology for greater adoption rooftop solar; and expanding the use of voltage management tools. The plan for the short-term will also include improved outage management and notification technology.

According to the companies, the plan has an objective to create space for more renewable resources whether it is customer-sited or grid-sourced. Overall, the electric networks aim to boost reliability and provide new choices to their customers to handle their energy use.

In December last year, Hawaiian Electric Companies outlined the near-term actions to meet 100% of Hawai'i's power generation needs from renewable resources by 2045.

The plan included the use of the newest generations of inverters, control systems and energy storage to help reliably integrate an estimated total of 165,000 private rooftop solar systems by 2030.