The first volunteers in the Kihei neighborhood of Maui Meadows received installation of Smart Meters at their homes this spring — the innovative Maui Smart Grid Project is underway!
This effort is funded by the United States Department of Energy as part of an initiative to promote a renewable-energy-focused future. The lead agency is the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, located at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. High Tech Maui is providing community outreach and working with several other entities on the project, including Maui Electric Company.
A smart grid, often called the energy internet, is a system of interconnected technologies enabling two-way communication between different parts of the electric-power system. The Maui Smart Grid Project will demonstrate and evaluate new technologies to help residents better manage and reduce energy consumption during periods of high demand. Access to a personalized website supplies volunteers with data on their energy usage. Being aware of one’s current energy usage is the first step towards energy efficiency.
Related tools, such as an in-home display and a smart thermostat, are also available to empower volunteers to stay ahead of their energy consumption. The Maui Smart Grid Project will also help MECo operate the electricity grid more efficiently.
The results from this effort will be compared with other demonstration projects throughout the nation and also used for decision making on future smart grid initiatives in Hawaii. Those future projects may include partners from Japan and Korea and incorporate the use of wind energy and electric vehicles.
For more information, please visit the Maui Smart Grid Project’s website at http://www.mauismartgrid.com/.