DOE selects Hawaiian Electric to map Oahu for microgrid potential

Published on April 28, 2021 by Chris Galford

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Looking to improve energy grid resilience on Oahu, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has chosen Hawaiian Electric to map areas of the island that could be optimal for building microgrids.

Part of the larger Inaugural Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP), the project will unite Hawaiian Electric with the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, DOE, and national labs to promote these microgrids and advance clean energy solutions throughout the island.

“We’re honored to be among [the] first to participate in ETIPP. This is an incredible opportunity to co-develop a map that pinpoints areas suited for microgrids,” Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of planning and technology, said. “This project would identify opportunities for rapid development of microgrids that would provide resilience to communities.”

For Hawaiian Electric’s part, the company hopes to reduce barriers to deployment with a thorough map that factors in technical and practical options for microgrids. These microgrids will service areas connected to the grid but can also operate while isolated by outages to continue providing electricity through items such as solar panels, a battery, or backup generator. They are best suited to areas likely to suffer prolonged outages during adverse events but have a potential for groups of customers with renewable energy resources.

The ETIPP project will likely last between 12-18 months. During that time, developers will be able to contact potential microgrid participants and work with Hawaiian Electric to apply for microgrid development.