Honeywell and Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) have launched a pilot program that aims to demonstrate how smart grid technology can help integrate more intermittent renewable energy – such as wind power and solar energy – onto the electric grid.
During the two-year program, the utility will connect with commercial and industrial customers to temporarily reduce the need for electricity – which the companies say is critical to maintaining grid reliability as Hawaii reduces its dependence on fossil fuels.
HECO will conduct a test of ‘fast demand response’ (Fast DR) technology, which gives the utility and facilities the tools to reduce demand within 10 minutes of notification of a pending imbalance between supply and demand. Companies receive an incentive to participate, and when Fast DR events are triggered, they receive an additional per-kilowatt-hour incentive credit. This can translate into thousands of dollars in annual savings, according to the companies.
The pilot will validate the technical design and tariffs for a full-scale demand-response program to support Hawaii's renewable energy goals. The companies say it also will contribute to a broader statewide effort to increase energy independence, security and sustainability.
Currently, HECO must rely on fossil-fuel generation to manage the inherent intermittency associated with certain types of renewable energy and other interruptions in grid stability. Fast DR has the potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels to balance the increased integration of renewable energy in Hawaii.
‘Increasing renewable energy requires new and more advanced methods of managing reliability, especially given the variable nature of wind and solar," says Scott Seu, HECO's vice president of energy resources. ‘This project will lay the groundwork for new programs to advance a clean energy future for Hawaii.’
The pilot program will help HECO create direct connections to loads at commercial and industrial facilities. For the first phase, Honeywell will work with HECO to enroll and connect customers to a regional operating center. If demand outpaces supply, HECO will trigger a notice for customers to reduce demand within 10 minutes, providing more than 6 MW of semi-automated load control when the program is fully subscribed, the utility explains.
A second phase will feature the use of automated demand-response tools from Honeywell, including Akuacom and Tridium technologies. HECO will use the Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) software from Akuacom to manage its resources and events. At each customer facility, a Tridium smart grid controller will poll the DRAS for event signals. When the utility triggers an event, the controller will receive the signal and communicate with the site's building management system to automatically execute load-shed measures the customer sets in advance, such as cycling air conditioners, and turning off non-essential lights, pumps and motors.
The smart grid controller also sends data from the facility's electricity meter back to the DRAS every five minutes so the utility has immediate feedback on the decrease in demand, the companies add.