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Hawaii strikes new partnerships for distributed grid services

Customer-sited energy storage trial


In 2016 Hawaii became the home to a customer-sited every storage system thanks to Wet’n’Wild waterpark and the energy storage firm, Stem Incorporated. The project aims to manage energy peaks and improve reliable energy supply for customers with existing solar installations. It’s supported by the Hawaiian Electric Co. and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative and should increase visibility and demonstrate the control of edge-of-network resources.


The 108kW/216kWh energy storage system is a part of a three-year test program. If it’s successful, similar systems will be deployed at 30 local businesses across O’ahu, Maui and Hawaii. The solar battery installations will help to provide a reliable supply of power to those using distributed sources of energy or high levels of rooftop solar.


Managing the peaks in demand


The main advantage of the storage system lies in its ability to integrate energy at customer sites and help manage power loads, especially for those who suffer from large peaks and drops in energy demand. Thanks to a new, robust software platform that provides predictive analytics and data, companies will receive useful grid responsive resources. This is particularly valuable to grid operators who will be able to see and manage customer-sited resources, including energy storage, for the first time.


The project is also very attractive for Wet’n’Wild in Hawaii whose operating hours coincide with peak sunlight hours. Jerry Pupillo, Wet’n’Wild’s general manager says the solar batteries will help to decrease the energy usage spike they have struggled with.


“This makes dollars and sense for us as a business as our peak use determines the rate we pay. Big picture: this could help the utility avoid building another power plant because with battery storage our electricity use can be more precise and controlled to help manage the grid.”


Partnerships for distributed grid services


Hawaiian Electric expressed delight at the distributed energy storage pilot and their partnership with Wet’n’Wild. Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric VP for corporate planning and business development says that this new ‘behind-the-meter storage system will allow customers to better manage their energy use. The benefit is two-fold: customers will save money while also receiving efficient and improved grid reliability.


Stem’s new instalment will demonstrate the value these kinds of systems can provide and will be particularly useful for other amusement parks or attractions with similar energy profiles to Wet’n’Wild. It is currently the largest system deployed and will make up about 10 percent of the overall battery capacity used.


100% renewable energy by 2045?


The pilot project will aid in reaching Hawaii’s goal of going 100 percent renewable by 2045. Tad Glauthier, VP of Hawaii operations at Stem, also hopes it will serve as a model for other companies to follow, saying “When utilities partner with companies that share this vision and commitment, we can build grid-scale batteries that compete with fossil-fuel based resources. In this case, we can do it without taking up any more of Hawaii’s precious land or placing an extra burden on ratepayers. Wet’n’Wild is truly leading the way with their participation in this project.”

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