A new smart grid project is underway in New Mexico, according to Ucilia Wang of gigaOM. The project is a partnership between NEDO (National Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) of Japan, Los Alamos National Labs and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities.

A smart grid project that has been under development for over a year, created by a collaboration of Japanese and U.S. companies, is now live in New Mexico. The demonstration project promises to help solve some thorny problems with adding more renewable energy into the power grid.

The network will test out solar power, energy storage and electric grid management and produce data and analyses over the next six months, said Japanese solar panel maker, Kyocera, which is taking part in the project. The project also involves the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities. NEDO itself is a group of government, research institutions and private tech companies such as Kyocera, Toshiba and Hitachi.

The tests conducted in New Mexico will help renewable energy technology producers and utilities better understand how to integrate renewable energy into the existing power grid.

Adding more renewable energy into the grid presents technical and operational challenges for utilities and grid operators. Solar and wind power, for example, can only be generated at certain hours of the day and night, and weather conditions have a big impact on their production rates. Since an electric grid works best when there is a balance of supply and demand, grid operators have to figure out how to make up for any short fall or surge of renewable energy that could happen at any time. Power plants that use coal, natural gas and nuclear, on the other hand, can produce a steady stream of power.

In addition to better understanding of how these technologies can be integrated into the power grid, member companies of NEDO, like Kyocera, will be able to develop their renewable energy technologies for the U.S. market.

Read more about this project here: http://gigaom.com/cleantech/japan-u-s-smart-grid-project-now-live-in-new-mexico/