By Maui Now Staff
A blessing and opening ceremony was held on Monday for the new JUMPSmartMaui Innovation Center at Queen Kaʻahumanu Center.
The center features educational displays and videos, as well as a Maui Energy Timeline that highlights milestones in Maui’s smart energy progression.
The new center, presented by Hitachi, also showcases the company’s global accomplishments in smart-city initiatives.
Project representatives say it was also created to inform, educate, and engage the public on Maui’s clean energy initiatives, as well as the JUMPSmartMaui initiative.
JUMPSmartMaui was launched earlier this year to improve the integration of renewable energy resources into Maui’s electrical grid.
The initiative was funded through a $30 million investment by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan’s largest public research and development management organization.
Program representatives say the collaborative project between Japan and Hawaiʻi incorporates Smart Grid, renewable energy, and EV solutions to achieve a cleaner future for Maui.
Future plans for the Innovation Center reportedly include free energy workshops, a speaker series and educational programs for teachers and students.
“It’s an exciting time with an increasing number of residents becoming more energy conscious and participating in the JUMPSmartMaui demonstration project,” said Jeanne Skog, President of the Maui Economic Development Board, one of the project’s stakeholders in a project press release.
Skog continued saying, “Their involvement is critical as the project tests new technologies that will make our grid ‘smarter,’ and help us operate and manage our energy supply especially from renewables more effectively.”
According to JUMPSmartMaui data, a total of 157 residents have signed up for EV membership so far, which entitles them to access to DC Fast Charging stations.
The Fast Charge service is currently offered at five locations including Piʻilani Village Shopping Center, Queen Kaʻahumanu Center, Maui Tropical Plantation, Māʻalaea Triangle and Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel.
Currently, Nissan LEAF vehicle SV and SL model owners on Maui are eligible to become JUMPSmartMaui EV members. Program representatives say a total of 40 Kīhei residents are also eligible to participate in the JUMPSmartMaui Home Volunteer program.