Batteries for Grid Management

This Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) project is being funded by the Office of Naval Research in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The objective is to mitigate adverse impacts of integrating intermittent renewable energy sources onto electricity grids in Hawai‘i. For this project, the technology being evaluated is a fast-response battery energy storage system (BESS). In addition to HNEI, project partners include Altairnano, Inc., Hawi Renewable Development LLC, and SCADA Solutions. HNEI is active in the deployment, operation, and performance validation of four grid-scale BESSs. The first, a 1-MW Li-ion titanate battery, was installed in 2012 at the Hawi Wind plant on the Island of Hawaii. The second is the Waiawa Battery Energy Storage Project on Oahu, with testing and evaluation of a similar battery system in a distribution line with a high penetration of photovoltaic systems.

The primary HNEI contact for this project is Richard Rocheleau. For more information concerning the project, see the Batteries for Grid Management pdf document.

A similar project, evaluating a different technology for grid management (use of hydrogen and fuel cells) is also being funded by DOE, and for details see the Grid Management Using Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Grid Support sections of our website. For general information on other related HNEI research activities, see the Energy Storage, Grid Systems, and Hydrogen research sections of our website.


Energy Storage

The Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) is actively involved with several issues of energy storage.  One important aspect relates to the increased utilization of renewable resources by electric utilities in the State of Hawaii.  Some of these resources (such as solar and wind energy) are intermittent and this can present the problem of storing the energy generated when it is not needed, so that it can subsequently be used when it is needed.   Among the possible options for storing such energy, HNEI is working with the use of: 1) batteries for energy storage, and 2) electrolyzers operating on solar and wind energy for generating hydrogen which can be stored and then used to drive fuel cells for generating energy as needed, as possible in HNEI’s Hawaii Hydrogen Power Park.  Details concerning specific projects using each of these options are presented in the sections of our website listed below (see also the section on Grid Storage Systems under Grid Systems):    

Another aspect concerning energy storage is the matter of advanced batteries for use in a variety of applications.  HNEI is also involved in advanced battery research.  For details see the section covering HNEI’s Electrochemical Power Sources.


Grid Modeling and Analysis

HNEI’s renewable energy research efforts have included assessing the feasibility of increasing the use of renewable energy in electricity grids of the Hawaiian Islands, and addressing potential problems resulting from such increased use. As a consequence of this work, HNEI has become involved more and more with studies and analyses of such grids as required for preliminary work before addressing methods for overcoming problems resulting from increased renewable energy utilization on the grid. HNEI has, therefore, interacted with the various utilities involved and has collaborated with subcontractors having the required special expertise.  Successful completion of several grid analyses led HNEI into a variety of projects dealing with use of different approaches to resolving grid problems related to increased renewable energy employment.  See the Grid Storage Systems and Smart Grids sections of our website for details.

Examples of the type of effort required in grid analysis projects are given below.  They present HNEI activities in this subject matter.  Similar work was conducted in analysis of the electricity grid on Maui.



Grid Storage Systems

Since some renewable sources are intermittent (e.g., wind and solar energy), grid storage systems provide the capability to: 1) mitigate the issues associated with such intermittency, such as frequency or voltage transit variations, surges or dips, and other generation and distribution disruptions; 2) to smooth out such intermittency through peak shaving or other ancillary services; and 3) to increase efficiency of energy utilization by load shifting and leveling. Rather than wasting or not utilizing such energy by conventional grid distribution management, grid storage systems store this energy for use at later times when it is needed. Two possible methods that we are interested in are: 1) the use of batteries for energy storage, and 2) using the excess electricity to operate electrolyzers for producing hydrogen, which can be stored and subsequently utilized for running fuel cells to produce electricity when needed.

Details concerning each of these two methods can be viewed by clicking on the titles below. Each of these items links to different sections of our website and present HNEI activities in the subject matter.

Other aspects of battery technology include research on advanced batteries for use in a variety of applications. HNEI researchers are also active in this area -- for details, see the Electrochemical Power Sources section of our website. The utilization of excess electricity to generate hydrogen for storage and subsequent use to produce electricity when needed is one of the possible elements of HNEI’s Hawai‘i Hydrogen Power Park.

HNEI is also involved in other considerations of grid systems and our efforts in these areas can be seen in the Grid Modeling and Analysis and Smart Grids portions of our website.

For other general information relating to this subject area, see the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen sections of our website.


Grid Systems

In connection with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) efforts have included assessment of the technical and economic feasibility for increasing renewable energy electricity generation capacity and production in Hawai‘i. Among the results of these efforts was the identification of potential negative impacts on Hawaiian Island electricity grids from increases in certain renewable energy sources feeding into the grids. This has lead to a series of grid studies and analyses being conducted by HNEI to address these negative impacts and to formulate potential solutions. Other work by HNEI has involved two solution areas: 1) use of renewable energy storage systems, and 2) implementation of smart grid technology. The Institute has, therefore, interacted with the various utilities involved and has collaborated with subcontractors having the required special expertise in addressing problem solutions.

Grid studies and analyses have been conducted for the Big Island, Maui, and O‘ahu. This work has led to grid analysis activities and subsequent model development. Such work has included interactions with the Hawai‘i Electric Light Company (HELCO), Maui Electric Company (MECO) and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), as well as collaboration with General Electric Company (GE) and Alstom Grid Inc. Furthermore, involvement in all of these activities culminated in HNEI being awarded the Maui Smart Grid Project by the US Department of Energy (DOE). This project includes $7 million in DOE funding and $7.4 million in cost-share funding by the project partners, including HNEI, HECO, MECO, and GE. Most recently, Alstom Grid Inc. has been added as a new partner on the project. The project objective is to use a MECO grid substation together with new smart meters and smart technology to enable increased renewable energy utilization and yield benefits to the MECO utility and its customers. A related, more recent project deals with the use of smart grid inverters to assist on grids with high penetration of PV systems. HNEI has also been involved in a variety of projects dealing with alternate energy storage systems for addressing negative renewable energy impacts on grids. 

The Grid Systems research area consists of three subareas which deal with various aspects of the problems facing electric utilities. The specific subareas are given below. Click on any of these for details.


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