Smart Grid on Maui

October 23, 2009

General Electric recently announced that it will be testing its “smart grid” technology in the luxury resort community of Wailea.

What is smart grid? It’s a new kind of power grid that saves energy by turning off household appliances when electricity is expensive. It also utilizes more wind and solar power than the norm. The goal is to have it reduce peak electricity by 15 percent as of 2012.

How does it work? Well, the smart grid is a wall-based unit that will be installed into homes like other power meters. It was designed to monitor how much electricity is being used by various appliances. During peak hours, when demand for power is higher, it will turn off some of those appliances.

As a smart grid user, one has the option of scheduling power use for non-peak times. For example, the dishwasher could be set with a delay to its start time so it goes off during hours of low power demand, or air condition could be put on a reduced setting. This saves the user’s money and would reduce strain on the grid so it could absorb more energy produced by renewable sources.

Wailea is the only resort community where smart grid is being tested but there are 70 other smart grid pilots around the country. Wailea was chosen because development is rapid and the area is a little remote.

Considering that Hawaii is the most fossil-fuel dependent state in the U.S., relying on imports for 90 percent of its power needs, this innovation could be colossally helpful.

A federal Department of Energy grant paid for about half of the $14 million Maui smart grid project while General Electric and Hawaiian Electric supplied the rest along with personnel.

As for Maui real estate, we recommend that you browse the Wailea Fairway Villas for some lovely homes, or perhaps the homes for sale in Maalaea. If you have any questions or would like to contact us, you can call (866) 874-1942 toll free or Lisa’s cell at (808) 283-7426. You can also email [email protected] or [email protected].

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