Gov. Abercrombie and President Hideo Hato of Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) signed the Japan U.S. Smart Grid Community Demonstration Project Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last week at the Hawai'i State Capitol.
The multi-million dollar project is aimed at improving integration of variable renewable resources, such as solar and wind power, and preparing the electric system for widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
According to Christian Whitney of the Hawai'i State Energy Office, a smart grid is an electrical distribution system that includes "two-way communications between different parts of the electric power system." This two-way communication allows power companies to be much more efficient in delivering electricity to customers and also respond more effectively when outages occur.
The smart grid projects will be located in Maui Meadows in Kihei. South Maui Rep. George Fontaine, who was present at the memorandum signing, observed, "This smart grid project places Maui County on the cutting edge of new power distribution technology. This project will help Maui County to be more energy self-sufficient along with placing us at the center of national and international attention."