Today’s White House’s release of the report, Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid: Enabling Our Secure Energy Future, provides a path toward modernization of the electric grid and can help make our electric system more efficient by investing in technologies that can transform utility infrastructure.
A case in point is the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). Currently, diesel generators provide approximately 90 percent of KIUC’s electric power. The island of Kauai has no interconnections with other power systems. So to meet demand, the utility must generate all of its power.
To help meet their objective of generating 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2023, KIUC plans to construct a 3-megawatt solar photo voltaic (PV) system. KIUC’s lack of interconnections means the utility faces unique challenges balancing supply and demand. So, KIUC will use demand response programs, coupled with energy storage to support variable renewables, to prevent grid disruptions and to help reach their goal.
KIUC’s combined solar PV and energy storage system will help the utility reduce diesel consumption by millions of gallons every year. These new smart grid technologies will help all of us manage our power more efficiently and help increase use of renewable resources. Our investment in technologies to enhance the electric grid and other utility systems will build a smarter infrastructure, create new jobs and result in a stronger economy.