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GE is working with the Maui Electric Co. (MECO) to utilize distributed energy resources to help manage grid operations on the island of Maui. In partnership with the Hawaiian Electric Co., MECO, the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute of the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy, GE has formally launched the Maui Smart Grid Project, which will develop and demonstrate the use of smart grid technologies to help MECO control peak circuit demand, maintain adequate circuit voltage levels and integrate intermittent renewable energy resources.

GE's smart grid management tools will include advanced communications, automation and control technologies and possibly an energy-storage system. The management system will control and dispatch several types of power system equipment, customer loads and energy storage to compensate for sudden changes in wind power and circuit loads.

"Hawaii has phenomenal wind and solar energy potential, so incorporating higher percentages of renewable power makes perfect sense," says Bob Gilligan, vice president of GE Energy's transmission and distribution business. "GE Energy's smart grid technologies will help MECO reliably manage and integrate these renewable energy sources, while increasing the grid's energy productivity and efficiency."

The island of Maui already meets the definition of high-penetration renewable power. With a peak load of around 200 MW on the island, up to 30 MW can come from wind energy. Maui currently receives nearly 10% of its energy from wind, with plans to add even more wind-powered generation in the future.

SOURCE: GE Energy

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