U.S. and Japan companies collaborate on smart grid project in Hawaii

Hitachi, Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) Cyber Defense Institute, Inc. (NY, USA), JFE Engineering Corporation (Tokyo, Japan), Sharp Corporation (Osaka, Japan), Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd. (Palo Alto, CA), and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) Tuesday announced that U.S. and Japan companies have been selected as contractors for joint “Project” collaboration supporting a world-leading Smart Grid project on Maui, a Hawaiian island that will serve as the Project site. The Project will be spearheaded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (“NEDO”).

Hitachi, Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) Cyber Defense Institute, Inc. (NY, USA), JFE Engineering Corporation (Tokyo, Japan), Sharp Corporation (Osaka, Japan), Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd. (Palo Alto, CA), and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) Tuesday announced that U.S. and Japan companies have been selected as contractors for joint “Project” collaboration supporting a world-leading Smart Grid project on Maui, a Hawaiian island that will serve as the Project site. The Project will be spearheaded by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (“NEDO”). Hitachi will take a leading role and coordinate the entire project, serving as the project leader.

Hitachi, along with the other five participating companies, will conduct a feasibility study expected to be completed by the middle of September 2011. Based on the results of the feasibility study, the Project is expected to be implemented by the end of March 2015.

The Project, a joint undertaking by the U.S. and Japan, will be aimed at demonstrating a world-leading smart grid on Maui, a Hawaiian island. The Project is supported by NEDO, in cooperate with the U.S. State of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., the University of Hawaii, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, whose involvement is based on the Japan-U.S. Clean Energy Technologies Action Plan, which was agreed to following the Japan-U.S. heads of state summit held in November 2009.

On the island of Maui, 15% of the electricity supply is already generated by renewable energy, and there are plans to increase this percentage going forward. The goal of the Project is to verify cutting-edge technologies in a smart grid under the use of large volumes of renewable energy already in place, contribute to smart grid standards, and implement a low-carbon social infrastructure system that efficiently uses renewable energy on a remote island where electricity costs are relatively high.

The six participating companies will build and test a system that applies the latest technologies that will be utilized include: power distribution control, demand side load control, control-ICT platform, electric vehicles (EVs) operation and charging control, multiple type of rapid chargers, and information and telecommunications technologies. The part of the demonstration plan includes utilization of the EVs as the stability function for the grid. These technologies will be implemented to eliminate the factors in causing power voltage impacts in the distribution grids and fluctuations in power frequency when large volumes of renewable energy with weather-dependent tendency are added to a power grid.

Specific details of the Project and the roles of participating companies are as follows:

1. EV-based Remote Island Smart Grid Model on Maui (Hitachi, Sharp, and JFE Engineering)

With the goal of eliminating the impact of output fluctuations from renewable energy on power frequencies, the participating companies will establish an EV Energy Control Center to create a smart grid on an island without alternative energy source from other grids that is based on the a close coming society with EVs large penetration. They will facilitate comprehensive energy management for the EVs by linking a Distribution Management System (“DMS”) to be established in the Kihei district of the island, and an Energy Management System (“EMS”), which will control the demand-supply balance in the power grid of Maui Electric Company, Ltd. The companies will demonstrate the stimulation and inducement of demand for charging EVs that use car navigation systems, PCs, smartphones, and so forth, as well as charging status monitoring, automatic adjustment of charging starting times, and absorption of surplus efficient renewable energy. In addition, various types of rapid chargers will be installed, including flexible power supply type, photovoltaic DC to DC power supply type and DC power supply type with battery power at EV charging stations, and demonstrate their effectiveness at controlling EV chargers so they do not overload distribution facilities. Moreover, they will conduct simulated evaluating the impact that a large volume of EVs have on distribution networks by installing fixed storage batteries and charging and discharging them.

2. Smart Grid Model at a Substation with One Distribution Grid Level in Kihei (Hitachi)

Hitachi will demonstrate power grid operational stability to address issues such as power voltage, surplus electricity and frequency fluctuations from renewable energy using and cooperative-controlling EMS, DMS and micro-DMS that control the balance of supply and demand in a power grid. The goal of this demonstration is to solve various issues, including voltage issues related to reverse power flow that stem from photovoltaic solar power generation linked with distribution system terminals and excess load on low-voltage transformers when multiple EVs are charged at the same time.

3. Smart Grid Project for Low-voltage Transformer Level Systems (Hitachi)

Hitachi will demonstrate the control to reduce the possibility of the problems which arise by connecting micro-DMS, smart power conditioners and DMS demand response functions that address issues related to voltage at the low-voltage transformer level. Typically, it is possible that these problems arise due to an increase in photovoltaic solar power generation in homes and disruption of outdoor powerline to houses resulting from excess load that is caused by a large increase in power demand from EV rechargers and electric water heaters. The goal of this demonstration is to solve various issues, including voltage issues related to reverse power flow stemming from photovoltaic solar power generation that is linked with terminals on the distribution grids, and excess load on low-voltage transformers when multiple EVs are charged at the same time under EV large penetration.

4. Comprehensive Research

The participating companies will analyze the results of the Project.

  • Analysis and evaluation of results from smart grid demonstration (6 companies)
    In order to promote the establishment of an optimal smart grid model for islands without alternative energy source from other grids, the participating companies will create a U.S.-Japan Joint Evaluation Committee, which will work together, creating maximum synergy by utilizing best practices developed from the Project along with other demonstration projects being conducted by U.S. companies in the Wailea distinct of Maui. The committee will also discuss international standards.
  • Evaluation of cyber security (Hitachi, HP Japan, and Cyber Defense Institute)
    The three companies concerned will evaluate whether the Project meets cyber security standards in the U.S.
  • Evaluation of the economic viability of the system (Mizuho Corporate Bank)
    Mizuho Corporate Bank will use experts to evaluate the economic viability of the system that is created.
  • Creation and verification of a cutting-edge low-carbon social infrastructure system business model on a remote island (Hitachi, Mizuho Corporate Bank)
    In order to develop businesses in other regions, Hitachi and Mizuho Corporate Bank will create and evaluate a highly feasible and practical business model based on the results of the Project.