Hawaii wants to be a test bed for new energy storage technologies and is inviting companies to pilot their pre-commercial technologies at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park in Kailua-Kona.
Managed by the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), this strategic partnership between the State and County of Hawai‘i, and Hawai‘i Electric Light Company, will "drive innovation and economic development," says Governor Abercrombie, who last month released more than $13 million for capital
improvements at NELHA facilities.
The State of Hawaii has invested over $100 million to create HOST Park, a unique outdoor demonstration site for emerging technologies, that so far include ocean energy, solar, algae biofuels and sea-based food technologies.
HOST is a model of sustainable development, allowing companies to run their facilities on solar, use cold deep seawater to cool buildings, and hold meetings at the LEED-Platinum Gateway building. It's in the process of developing a microgrid for the campus, which is where energy storage enters the picture.
NELHA has developed the infrastructure that allows companies to do ‘real-world' grid-connected standardized testing and validation of energy storage devices. It plans to offer low-cost outdoor and indoor testing sites for up to 30 kilowatts of power, power sensors, and real-time monitoring of energy storage devices at no additional cost.
"Our mission is to provide secure, clean energy for Hawai‘i," says Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai‘i Electric Light. "There are great
opportunities in energy storage to increase clean energy, support reliability and ultimately lower costs for customers. This partnership will help our efforts to identify economic and reliable energy storage options that support our mission."
"With the significant cost reduction in clean energy generation over the years, some consider lower cost energy storage to be the 'missing link' and one of the most challenging elements in the
design and function of a clean energy microgrid," notes
Gregory Barbour, Executive Director of NELHA.
Market research shows the worldwide market for energy storage systems for wind and solar will grow from less than $150 million in 2013 to $10.3 billion by 2023 with a projected 21.8 gigawatts of capacity.
Another unique program in Hawaii is its Clean Energy Accelerator, which the U.S. Navy recently invested $30 million in. It offers seed funding of $30,000 to $100,000 to companies working on projects across a broad spectrum of renewable energy technologies including transportation.