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HELCO partners with government on energy storage research

LAST UPDATED: 4:07 p.m. HST, Feb 13, 2014

Hawaii Electric Light Co. is teaming up with county and state agencies to create a facility to test energy storage technologies at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park in Kailua-Kona.

"Energy storage is a rapidly evolving market and offers significant potential for future growth as microgrids require higher degrees of reliability and power quality, sophisticated generation-load balancing," according to a release from the state Energy Office announcing the partnership.

Energy storage is one of the issues vexing electric utilities in Hawaii as they try to accommodate more intermittent solar energy into their grids with no place to store excess production from photovoltaic panels.

The Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park where the project will be based is managed by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority.

 "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," said NELHA Executive Director Gregory Barbour.

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