If you had to make a list of US states leading the green tech revolution, who would be on the list? Probably West Coast states like California and Oregon. Maybe Texas, with its burgeoning wind industry. Maybe even Massachusetts, which is becoming a center for developing battery technology. But no matter who you put on your list, donâ€™t leave out Hawaii.
Hawaii has been doing a heck of a lot. Theyâ€™ve been testing out new ocean-powered energy projects, they banned new coal plants and committed to being 70% renewable by 2030, and they have been promoting biomass power generation. Not to mention the fact that our president-elect â€“ a native Hawaiian â€“ is putting together a pretty green energy team.
Hawaiiâ€™s latest green project is smart meters. Itâ€™s pretty much a given that smart metering â€“ the ability for the electric utility to know how much electricity is being used at all places at all times â€“ is something that a next-generation electric grid needs to have. The way it is now, sometimes utilities donâ€™t even know if, say, a power line is down until the customer calls them up and tells them soâ€¦ which is pathetic. Utilities should be able to see how their power lines are doing at all times.
Hawaiiâ€™s biggest power utility, Hawaii Electric, will be purchasing meters from Sensus Metering Systems for about 430,000 customers. Hawaii Electric has been doing trial runs with meters made by Sensus over the last couple years, and it seems that they like what they have been seeing. The customers mentioned above include people who will be installing these meters in their homes as well as businesses and power generating plants.
But does having a smart meter in your house mean that Big Brother can turn down your AC if he thinks youâ€™re using too much? Not for residential customers. Those meters are only there to give the utility a live reading of how much power you are using. For big commercial customers, however, these meters will indeed be used by the utility to cut consumption during times of peak demand (presumably under conditions agreed upon between the consumer and the utility beforehand). The meters will also be installed in power plants, so that the utility can turn up and down the power as needed.
Although there are plenty of reasons for installing smart meters for their own sake, letâ€™s not forget that Hawaii has been working with Better Place to design an electric car infrastructure. A critical part of Better Placeâ€™s model is that its many charging stations will be controlled by a computer which decides which cars to charge first. Building that network will be much easier if Hawaiiâ€™s grid is already smarter than average.
written by Busby SEO Test Gary Viray, December 25, 2008
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