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Social Innovation

“Collaborative Creation” to Solve Energy Problems in Hawaii Hitachi's Smart Grid Demonstration Project “Collaborative Creation” to Solve Energy Problems in Hawaii Hitachi's Smart Grid Demonstration Project

Maui Island in the State of Hawaii has been rushing to integrate large amounts of renewable energy into its utility grid, causing new problems such as excess energy and instability in the power supply. To resolve these issues, Hitachi has been making progress on a Smart Grid Demonstration Project there.

Hitachi's Contributions to the Japan-U.S. Smart Grid Demonstration Project

There are many island countries, like Japan, in the world. These countries tend to face energy issues including a heavy dependency on fossil fuels as energy sources. In the U.S., Hawaii is the state with the highest rate of dependency on fossil fuels. Including fuel use in vehicles and airplanes, 90% of Hawaii's energy consumption relies on fossil fuels. To reduce this dependency, the State of Hawaii has been working toward a goal of supplying 100% of the state's energy through renewable sources by 2045. However, because energy output from renewable sources can vary due to changing environmental conditions, integrating large amounts of renewable energy can make the utility grid unstable by creating problems such as increased voltage and fluctuations in frequency. The Japan-U.S. Smart Grid Demonstration Project was launched to address issues that arise with the increased use of renewable energy.
In 2011, Hitachi started working on the Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project (commonly referred to as the "JUMPSmartMaui") which is being entrusted to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in collaboration with partners including the State of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., the University of Hawaii, and three U.S. national laboratories.
JUMPSmartMaui is an effort to demonstrate the world's latest island style smart grid. The project has three objectives: to respond to the growth of EV (electric vehicle) utilization; to stabilize the supply of electricity; and to maximize the use of renewable energy. Hitachi is managing this demonstration project to build a smart grid system.

Hitachi's Six Innovative Initiatives

Hitachi adopted six innovative initiatives in the project. The first is to maximize utilization of renewable energy. This will be achieved by using advanced load shift technology to forecast renewable energy output in addition to conventional forecasting of the demand for electricity. The second is to develop solutions to stabilize and balance power output coming from renewable sources, since the output from these sources is prone to fluctuation. For example, when the wind stops blowing, people's daily lives should not be interrupted by reduced output from wind power generation. Hitachi has been developing direct load control technology that monitors household energy consumption and automatically adjusts the amount of electricity being used to run household equipment or to charge EVs. The four other initiatives are: to develop facilities and systems to respond to growth in EV utilization; to ensure cyber security for system safety; to improve energy control using an autonomous decentralized system; and to support community and infrastructure evolution by developing technologies for information and control platforms. Through these initiatives, Hitachi has been working to realize a low carbon society while improving the quality of life for people on Maui Island.

Hitachi's six innovative initiatives

Hitachi's research revealed that EVs, which have been gaining in popularity, can play an essential role in developing an efficient smart grid system. Excess energy being generated can be used to charge batteries in EVs, and the power stored in EV batteries can be used to stabilize the use of electricity from renewable sources. In that way, EVs become an important part of an energy infrastructure that does not depend on fossil fuels. Based on this idea, Hitachi set up an energy control center to manage EV charging. In addition, Hitachi set up EV Quick Charger stations, based on analysis of traffic flow, the location of major destinations, and general convenience for users, and began test demonstrations in December 2013. Working on a smart grid that integrates wind power in Maui, Hitachi has been making progress on the Smart Grid Demonstration Project. IT also plays an important role in monitoring the utility grid and tracking customer demand. The project is also demonstrating the utilization of EVs and a charging management system for EVs, including Multi-type Quick Charger stations. Working closely with local partners and volunteers has been essential in advancing these efforts. During this project, in particular, Hitachi has been demonstrating the value of "Collaborative Creation" to develop new systems.

EV Quick Charger station

Hitachi is collaborating with more than 200 volunteers and local stakeholders on the JUMPSmartMaui project.

Making Efficient Systems to Utilize Renewable Energy

Hitachi is working on the development of V2G, Vehicles to Grid Technology, which utilizes power from EVs to feed electricity to the grid. In addition to V2G, Hitachi is expanding the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) function to conduct a test demonstration. VPP will contribute to balancing power on Maui Island through an integrated management system using EVs and storage batteries as a dispersed power source. The current Smart Grid Demonstration Project will continue until February 2017. At the same time, Hitachi will evaluate the effectiveness of the smart grid, the economic performance of systems, and the application of business models in creating a low carbon society in island countries. Hitachi hopes to introduce similar programs in other island nations and semi-tropical areas. Building upon the success of these projects, Hitachi will continue to develop innovative solutions that combine information and control technology to contribute to the establishment of effective systems for the increased utilization of renewable energy.

(January 2016)