Keep a close watch on the Hawaiian power utilities (HECO) because Hawaii has committed to 100% renewables by 2045 and 65% by 2030. That was the recommendation of Sharon Allan, CEO of the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) in response to a question asking what should utilities do to get ready for Grid 3.0.
Hawaii has seen an exponential rise in rooftop solar PV. Hawaii already has 487 MW of solar PV capacity, 90% of which is residential rooftop panels. As a result since 2010 the utility has been experiencing a reduction in net load and revenue. The most dramatic drop in load is during daytime hours as is readily apparent by comparing the utility's load on clear and cloudy days which reflects the impact of residential solar PV.
Last week Hawaiian Electric Co. asked the state PUC to approve a $340 million Smart Grid Foundation Project. The companies are requesting permission from the PUC to install smart grid technology for more than 455,000 customers on O'ahu, Hawai'i Island and in Maui County. The application includes a wireless communication network, smart meters and automation technology. The expected benefits are improved outage detection and restoration, provision of electricity usage information to help customers manage their power usage, and automated services such as remote meter reads and connect/disconnect requests. Customers will also have access to a energy portal, accessible on mobile and other devices, to provide more control over their energy usage. But perhaps most importantly this is an important prerequisite to reaching Hawai'i's 100 percent renewable electricity goal. This will require a rate increase, estimated for residential customers at about 23 cents per month for 20 years. Reportedly, commercial customers will bear more of the cost.
HECO collects a large amount of data from diverse sources. It is comprised of internal operational data plus data from esternal sources. It includes weather forecasts, data from customer sited PV, consumer/public resource data, phasor (PMU) data, renewables power quality, feeder data, irradiance meters, generator and substations power quality, SCADA, and vendor data such as forecasts and data from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Much of this includes location. Geospatial technology is fundamental to integrating this data. Advanced spatial analytics will allow Hawaiian power utilities to extract actionable information in real time.
Fundamental to distributed energy management is another geospatial data source, historical, current and forecast weather maps. Maps of irradiance and wind velocity are key to monitoring and predicting solar and wind generation in different parts of the islands. Temperature maps are also important because the efficiency of solar panels depends on temperature. The more accurate the weather forecasts are, the more predictable the generation. Knowing that there it will be cloudy over the south of Oahu, but sunny over the rest of the island, or cloudy over the whole island, but with moderate to strong winds allows operations to estimate how much backup generation is required and where.