Maui News

Hawaii and Korea Enter Smart Grid Development Agreement

February 3, 2012, 3:38 PM HST
* Updated February 4, 8:43 AM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The State of Hawai’i is expanding its Asia-Pacific clean energy partnership portfolio with the singing today of a letter of intent with Korea for smart grid development in the state.

The project is in addition to another smart grid demonstration project that is currently taking place on Maui, which was brought forward through an agreement with Japan-based New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization in November of 2011.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and Choi Kyu-Chong, Director of the Electricity Market and Smart Grid Division at the Republic of Korea Ministry of Knowledge Economy , signed the agreement, with plans to pursue mutual interests in the development of smart grid technology.

MKE and its Korea Smart Grid Institute have been at the forefront of the Korea Smart Grid Roadmap, South Korea’s plan to develop and implement a nationwide smart grid by 2030.


“Partnerships like this show the world just how serious Hawai’i is about our commitment to building a leading clean energy economy through clean energy demonstration and implementation,” said Gov. Abercrombie in a statement.  “We are building an energy legacy for our state that will benefit the people of Hawai’i for generations,” he said.


“The Republic of Korea and the State of Hawai’i both share the common goals of clean energy and energy independence,” said Director Choi Kyu-Chong. “The language that we share is that of green growth, independence and prosperity. Through the development of advanced energy technologies, including smart grid, we can sustain and prosper.”

Both Korea and the United States, specifically Hawai’i, have been conducting a number of smart grid demonstration projects.

The MKE and KSGI are currently leading more than 170 South Korean companies in the development and deployment of the Jeju Island Test Bed, a planned 6,000 household smart grid community demonstration project in South Korea.


The project has investments totaling more than $240 million between 2009 and 2013.

KSGI is also implementing a joint Korea-State of Illinois project to install energy-saving equipment in at least four Chicago buildings, with investments of more than $35 million.

“The state currently has approximately 80 renewable energy projects in various stages of development in the queue,” said state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Richard Lim. Building a smart grid system for Hawaii, he said, “will help us manage the power that is generated by renewable resources, which means more projects can come to fruition. That translates into more jobs for our local economy.”

The next step outlined in the letter of intent is for both parties to collaborate on a more defined memorandum of understanding by October 31, 2012, which will describe the project partners, scope, location and resource contributions.

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