HONOLULU – The Hawaiian Electric Companies are proposing a portfolio of programs to provide customers more options for saving on their electric bills while supporting the adoption of more clean energy, reducing the use of more expensive fossil-fueled generation and relieving stress on the electric grid.
The programs are outlined in the utilities’ Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan filed with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday.
The plan lays out new and enhanced “demand response” programs for residential, commercial, industrial and water pumping customers. Under the programs, customers receive financial incentives for shifting energy use to certain times of the day or voluntarily allowing the output of certain appliances or equipment to be adjusted if necessary to help maintain reliable service for our island grids.
Traditionally, when demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day, utilities have focused on meeting that demand by dispatching generating units – that is, adjusting the supply of power. This becomes more challenging as variable renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, continue to increase. The possibility of power outages increases when these resources suddenly stop producing power. Demand response programs allow utilities to adjust demand to help maintain the balance between customer use (demand) and generation (supply).
Further, demand response programs can be a more cost-effective option than using energy storage or oil-fired generation to balance demand and supply.
In addition, by offering lower or higher prices during certain times of the day, some demand response programs encourage customers to shift energy use to specific times, such as when solar and wind systems are producing the most power. This can maximize the use of wind and solar power that might otherwise be wasted.
“Demand response programs are a win-win for our customers and the environment,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “With demand response, customers get financial rewards that lower their monthly bills. We reduce the use of more expensive generators to meet electricity needs. And together we can unlock the potential for more low-cost renewable energy.”
In most cases, customers participating in demand response programs agree to allow the utility to adjust the energy use of pre-determined appliances remotely, like residential and commercial hot water heaters or air conditioners. Larger commercial and industrial customers may also include equipment that they will not miss for short periods. A signal sent from the utility to a customer’s electrical equipment or energy management system adjusts the equipment.
To help enroll customers, the Hawaiian Electric Companies plan to work with independent companies that also have experience implementing demand response. This includes coordinating with Hawai‘i Energy, the PUC-appointed public benefits fund administrator that manages energy efficiency programs, including rebates for solar water heating and energy efficient appliances.
The utilities also plan to build on their partnership with Energy Excelerator, a resource provider for clean-energy startups, to enhance the demand response portfolio continuously by using emerging technologies.
Hawaiian Electric currently offers five demand response programs on O‘ahu. Among them is “Energy Scout” which provides 32,000 participating residential and small business customers a credit on their electric bills to allow the utility to turn off their hot water heaters remotely for brief periods. “Fast DR” is a pilot program that pays participating large commercial and industrial customers several thousand dollars in incentives each month to allow the utility to reduce their electricity use briefly when necessary to stabilize the grid.
Subject to review and approval by the PUC, existing programs will be revised and new ones developed and rolled out in 2015 for customers on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and later for Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
The new demand response portfolio complements the use of large-scale energy storage as another way to as another way to support clean energy while maintaining reliable service. Hawaiian Electric recently issued a request for proposals for large-scale energy storage and is
currently reviewing bids.
By Jeff King
A Fire Prevention Inspector is on the side of mountain at this hour trying to determine what sparked a brush fire above Ma’alaea this morning.
At 9:14 a.m., Maui Fire Department crews responded to Ma’alaea for a reported brush fire located on the Mauka side of Honoapiilani Highway. Fire fighters arrived and found a brush fire on the slope of the mountain. Because of the inaccessibility of the area, two helicopters were utilized to control this fire. Approximately 30 acres are involved with the fire called 85% contained by 11:30 a.m. Prior to that time, smoke was visible from across much of South and Central Maui.
Ground crews are making their way to the fire ground and will begin mop up operations. High winds in the area will likely keep crews busy as hot spots are a concern in the dry brush.
An active Hurricane Season is spawning a high number of tropical weather systems in the Pacific.
So far in 2014, the only impact has been from one storm remnant that brought heavy rains and high winds to Maui from what was left of Tropical Storm Wali. There are four systems that the Pacific Hurricane Center is watching right now. Here are the locations and probability of development of those systems as of 8 a.m. today:
For the central north Pacific, between 140°W and 180.
1. The remnant low of former tropical depression Genevieve was located about 620 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. The surrounding environment has become more favorable for this system to redevelop as it continues to move west near 10 mph during the next couple of days.
* Formation chance through 48 hours, high, 60 percent.
2. A weak center of low pressure was located about 800 miles south southwest of Oahu. The surrounding environment may permit this system to develop slightly as it continues to move slowly west during the next couple of days.* Formation chance through 48 hours, low, 20 percent.
3. An area of disorganized convection was centered about 1580 miles southwest of Oahu. There is little, if any, indication that any organization is possible with this system during the next couple of days.* Formation chance through 48 hours, low, near 0 percent.
4. A weak center of low pressure located about 1000 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii moved westward at about 10 mph. The convection continues to weaken, and there is little, if any, indication that any organization is possible during the next couple of days.* Formation chance through 48 hours, low, near 0 percent.
Elsewhere, no tropical cyclones are expected through Thursday morning.
WAILUKU – The County of Maui Solid Waste Division announced a missed route affecting the Kula service areas today due to a staffing shortage. AREAS AFFECTED:
The missed pickup is expected to be made on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The Department apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates the community’s understanding and cooperation.
WAILUKU – The County of Maui, Department of Parks and Recreation, Aquatics Division announces the closure of the Lahaina Aquatic Center due to emergency repair to a major water line. The facility will be closed from Tuesday, July 29th to Thursday July 31st.
Please contact Recreation Specialist, Duke Sevilla at 270-6135 if you have any questions. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
A Napili man died Monday afternoon while clearing land in the Honokohau Valley. Maui Police say 57 year-old Joseph Bento was pinned under a large tree when a friend discovered him there around 5 p.m. yesterday.
Bento was unconscious and had sustained multiple injuries. Despite the efforts of first responders, Bento succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death.
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