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Honeywell, Hawaiian Electric to Test ‘Fast Demand Response’

Feb. 29, 2012
Pilot project is designed to maintain grid reliability and reduce costs as more renewable energy is added to island grids

Honeywell and Hawaiian Electric Co. in Honolulu are teaming up for a two-year pilot program to demonstrate how demand-response technology can help integrate more intermittent renewable energy to the electric grid. During the program, Hawaiian Electric will conduct a test of “fast demand-response” (fast DR) technology, which gives utilities and facilities tools to reduce demand within 10 min. of notification of a pending imbalance between supply and demand.

Companies receive an incentive to participate, and when fast DR events are triggered they receive an additional per-kilowatt-hour incentive credit. This can translate into thousands of dollars in annual savings.

The pilot is designed to validate the technical design and tariffs for a full-scale demand response program to support Hawaii’s renewable energy goals. It will also contribute to a broader state-wide effort to increase energy independence, security, and sustainability.

“Increasing renewable energy requires new and more advanced methods of managing reliability, especially given the variable nature of wind and solar. Our demand response strategy engages our customers in the total solution,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy resources. “This project will lay the groundwork for new programs to advance a clean energy future for Hawaii.”

Currently, Hawaiian Electric must rely on fossil fuel generation to manage the inherent intermittency associated with certain types of renewable energy and other interruptions in grid stability. Fast DR has the potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels to balance the increased integration of renewable energy in Hawaii.

“Generating ‘negawatts’— or reducing demand—is the cheapest and greenest way to meet electricity needs,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “This project will validate that demand response can deliver negawatts in an accelerated timeframe. Utilities across the globe have ambitious renewable energy goals, and Hawaiian Electric’s groundbreaking work will provide a template for solving the challenge of intermittency.”

The pilot will help Hawaiian Electric create direct connections to loads at commercial and industrial facilities. For the first phase, Honeywell will work with Hawaiian Electric to enroll and connect customers to a regional operating center. If demand outpaces supply, Hawaiian Electric will trigger a notice for customers to reduce demand within 10 minutes, providing more than 6 megawatts of semi-automated load control when the program is fully subscribed.

A second phase will feature the use of automated demand response tools from Honeywell, including Akuacom and Tridium technologies. Hawaiian Electric will use the Demand Response Automation Server (DRAS) software from Akuacom to manage its resources and events. At each customer facility, a Tridium smart grid controller will poll the DRAS for event signals. When the utility triggers an event, the controller will receive the signal and communicate with the site’s building management system to automatically execute load-shed measures the customer sets in advance, such as cycling air conditioners, and turning off non-essential lights, pumps and motors.

The smart grid controller also sends data from the facility’s electricity meter back to the DRAS every five minutes, so the utility has immediate feedback on the decrease in demand.

The Akuacom and Tridium technologies are based on open, industry-accepted standards so they can interact with virtually any building system to enable highly reliable machine-to-machine communication and rapid load reductions.

The Hawaiian Electric companies, working with the state of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy, have committed to reach a 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030, with at least 40 percent of electricity sold by Hawaiian Electric coming from renewable sources and 30 percent from energy efficiency.