The Associated Press - Hawai'i and Japan signed off on a project last week to build a smart grid on Maui to demonstrate how solar, wind and other renewable energy sources can be integrated into an electrical grid. The project aims to overcome one of the obstacles that prevents communities from using more renewable energy and create a model for others around the world to follow.
The experiment will involve smart utility system controls in homes and businesses in Kihei, although some electric vehicle charging stations involved will be placed on other parts of Maui. The Japanese government-sponsored New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, will invest $37 million in the experiment. The State of Hawai'i, Hawaiian Electric Co. and other companies are providing their experience and facilities. NEDO is an arm of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and NEDO President Hideo Hata signed an agreement to build the grid in a ceremony at the State Capitol.