State gets $2.1M in federal funding for renewable energy

The federal government has awarded $2.1 million to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to build energy storage systems that can be used to increase the capacity of electric utilities to accept more renewable energy.

DBEDT said it will allocate $1.2 million of the total to Maui Electric Co. and $900,000 to Hawaii Electric Light Co. on the Big Island. The funding will be used to build energy storage systems that would help smooth out the ebbs and flows of electricity to the grid from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Interconnection costs will be paid by the utilities.

Battery technology is the primary method for storing electricity generated by renewable sources, but other options are available, including compressed air, pumped hydro, and flywheels.