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Joint Japan-US smart grid project gets underway

By Donna Donnowitz
December 26, 2013

The Japan-U.S. Island Grid Project, which includes support for renewable energy, electric cars, improved power storage and other innovative technologies, has officially begun testing in Hawaii. According to Inside EVs, the project, which is spearheaded by Hitachi, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Mizuho Bank and the Cyber Defense Institute, began testing on Dec. 17, 2013 and is expected to be completed by March 2015.

"The goal of this Project, which is based on an agreement between the American and Japanese governments, will be to demonstrate smart grid technologies that will enable the efficient use of renewable energy and will contribute to the implementation of a low-carbon social infrastructure system in island regions," noted the Maui Electric Company, which is implementing the initial tests, according to the news source. "The demonstration site has been designed to respond to the rapidly changing demands in the renewable energy market, which will be made possible through the use of electric vehicles and other innovative technologies."

Renewable energy sources already account for 21 percent of the power generated on Maui island, according to the electric company, but one of the new project's goals is to amplify that amount.

Hitachi also said, according to the news source, that it has already implemented an electric vehicle energy control center, distribution management system and an energy management system to optimize the new efforts being undertaken. These tools will be used to balance supply and demand on the island while utilizing direct load control systems to influence consumer supply and fluctuations of power usage within the home.

While many of the improvements are focused primary on electric vehicle usage and the benefits this can provide, the implementation of enhanced system controls and smart grid technologies will provide significant advantages in other ways as well. From the reduction of utility costs to enhanced disaster response and recovery in a nation that has its fair share of natural crises, smart grid deployments could be very beneficial in Hawaii and other pacific islands.

Of course, an investment into such efforts has to be accompanied by the proper hardware, such as terminal servers, serial to Ethernet converters and the like. These tools help to minimize latency within the power data network and ensure that energy providers and consumers are getting the best possible service at both ends of the network.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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