Hawaiian Electrical proposes sufficient new solar + storage to finish use of coal within the state

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Hawaiian Electric, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, has submitted eight contracts for new renewable energy and storage projects in Oahu and Maui to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review and approval.

The six projects on Oahu and two on Maui are part of the largest renewable energy procurement for Hawaii. When the combined projects are approved and completed, they are expected to reduce utility bills in Oahu and Maui by an average of $ 1 per month.

The Oahu projects are expected to enable the generation and storage of the state’s only coal-fired power plant, the 180 MW power plant in Campbell Industrial Park owned by AES, by September 2022. On Maui, the successful completion of renewable energy projects will help ensure the closure of the 38 MW Kahului oil power plant in 2024.

These projects were part of the second phase of Hawaiian Electric’s renewable energy procurement effort that began in February 2018. Three of the original projects have been withdrawn, and contracts for three additional projects are still being negotiated with Hawaiian Electric.

“As planned, these projects will significantly accelerate our state’s renewable energy transformation and benefit everyone by exposing us to less volatile oil prices,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of business development and strategic planning, Hawaiian Electric.

In addition to the projects planned by independent developers, Hawaiian Electric plans to build two stand-alone energy storage projects, one in Maui and one in Hawaii. These projects were previously submitted to the PUC for review and approval.

The eight contracts submitted for regulatory review represent nearly 300 MW of new renewable energy generation and around 2,000 MWh of storage. If completed on schedule in 2022 and 2023, it is estimated that they will add approximately 9 percentage points to the renewable portfolio across the five islands served by Hawaiian Electric.

The company’s renewable portfolio is expected to reach 30% by the end of 2020, with Puna Geothermal Venture’s expected resumption of service on the Island of Hawaii.

The projects and their prices:

Hawaiian Electric has made public relations a formal part of the procurement process and requires developers to deal with residents of the communities where their projects are planned. Community members have the opportunity to provide comments and feedback as part of the government review process.

At the end of 2019, Hawaiian Electric had a solar capacity of 902 MW on its five island grids, including around 684 MW of solar capacity from customer-side solar systems on the roof, which are now over 85,000. When these new projects are approved and completed, the solar capacity will increase by a third.

Contract documents submitted by the company are available on the PUC website at https://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/.

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