Hawaiian Electric Co. recently announced its intention to use demand-response technology in a program to drastically improve the efficiency of renewable energy use. The technology is designed to more thoroughly integrate renewables with the electric grid.
The two-year pilot program uses the electrical demand of commercial and industrial customers. When a potential imbalance of power is detected, "fast demand-response" (Fast DR) is triggered with participating businesses, temporarily reducing the demand for power. Companies that participate will receive incentives, such as kilowatt-hour credits that can equate to thousands of dollars of savings per year.
The pilot is intended to test the current technical structural design of the program and establish a full-scale program later to serve the entire state.
"Increasing renewable energy requires new and more advanced methods of managing reliability, especially given the variable nature of wind and solar. Our demand response strategy engages our customers in the total solution," said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy resources. "This project will lay the groundwork for new programs to advance a clean energy future for Hawai'i."
Hawaiian Electric currently relies on fossil fuels to smooth out the intermittent electrical supply associated with renewable energy. The pilot program aims to alleviate the heavy reliance on these types of fuels.