Over two thousand miles from the California coast rests an island of beauty—where warm blue waters and white sand attract millions of tourists each year. Needless to say, powering a tourism hot spot boasting thousands of famous hotels and restaurants puts tremendous pressure on energy demand. Not only do the small islands of Hawaii require a lot of energy, but energy that is reliable.
Each island on Hawaii currently uses diesel generators that are inherently expensive and unstable due to the high cost of imported fuel. Residents suffering the high energy bills have long dreamed of the day the limitless quantities of sunlight, wind and water that surround them could be incorporate into the grid with efficiency. Though ideal for its location, the intermittency of renewables like solar, wind and wave power make it hard to incorporate a significant portion of clean energy into the island's overall energy mix. Energy storage capabilities today, however, may offer some newfound hope where some of the country's most expensive energy exists.
Xtreme Power, a leader in energy storage solutions in remote locations, sees the situation as an opportunity. Using a system that can firm the power of wind and solar generated electricity, Xtreme Power's Dynamic Power Resource ® (DPR) System has the potential to improve capacity by as much as 70 percent.
“Our system can provide stable voltage and frequency, the two major metrics of high quality power,” Alan Gotcher, CEO of Xtreme Power. “By doing so, we can improve the capacity of a solar or wind farm and help Hawaii and the electric companies improve quality of power on the grid, while reducing costs, blackouts and brownouts.”
Since 2006, the DPR system has been deployed in extremely remote locations, including the South Pole. Whether the wind blows or not, the system is designed to maximize renewable energy while maintaining grid stability. Intelligent controls command the DPR to rapidly charge or discharge to smooth the power delivered to the utility. Should the wind cease, the utility can command the storage system to discharge electricity onto the grid while a generator is brought online using an Automatic Generator Control (ACG).
Today, the technology is being considered for Hawaii's Big Wind project across three islands. Although wind and solar only make up a fraction of Hawaii's energy today, Gotcher believes that new technologies like the DPR system will soon help the island reach at least five times its current capacity.
“I see renewables really taking off in island economies like Hawaii,” says Gotcher. “It's quite likely that almost all of the power in Hawaii will someday be generated from renewables.”
For now, utilizing Xtreme Power's technology will save local utilities on operating costs associated with burning expensive fossil fuels, while increasing the revenues of wind farms and reducing the island's carbon footprint with a cleaner, cheaper source of electricity. It's also nice to think of Hawaii as a place where nature will always maintain its beauty, removed from the pollution clouds that hover over the cities back on the mainland.