HONOLULU - Five companies, including four with connections to Maui, have been awarded funding by the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture to launch innovative energy projects.
HREDV handed out more than $4.3 million in federal funding to the companies in a competitive process. The companies will match the funds with private investment for a total of more than $8 million in projects.
On Maui, HNU Energy received a grant to install a 1 megawatt lithium-ion battery in a high-solar neighborhood on Maui to smooth the short-term variability of solar energy to the grid in the evening during peak demand. The project is meant to demonstrate that battery storage technology can successfully manage high levels of solar energy on island grids, enabling other sources of renewable energy to be interconnected.
Another Maui company, Gen-X Energy, will work with a Big Island agricultural operation to build an off-grid water pumping system to meet farm irrigation needs. The system will be powered by a 100 kilowatt wind turbine with a battery, inverter and controls to regulate pump speed and track renewable energy output. The project hopes to demonstrate that such systems are cost-effective for farms in Hawaii and worldwide.
Finally, Hawaii-based Referentia Systems Inc. will develop a secure data system to enable electric utilities on Maui and Oahu to visualize what is happening on the grid in real time. The system will allow the utilities to integrate more solar, wind, smart-grid technology and other clean energy sources.
Other companies receiving grants under the program include Big Island Biodiesel, a subsidiary of Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel, for the design and construction of a High Vacuum Distillation unit at a new 5 million gallon-per-year biodiesel refinery on the Big Island. The HVD system will enable the facility to process a wider range of products into fuel and produce a higher-quality fuel.
Statewide, The Gas Co. also received an award.
For more information about the program and detailed descriptions of the projects, go to the website www.hawaiirenewable.com.