Clean Power

Published on May 14th, 2014 | by Jake Richardson


Up To 200 MW Of Energy Storage Proposed For Hawaii

May 14th, 2014 by  


60 to 200 megawatts — that’s the size of proposed energy storage development for the Hawaiian island of Oahu, according to a recent announcement from the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO).

“We want someone to do the whole project, from design to testing to commissioning. Beyond that, we could own it, we could turnkey it, we could do it on a provider basis. We’re trying to cast as wide a net as possible,” explained HECO spokesperson Peter Rossegg said in a Monday interview.

A similar proposal was published this year by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative for a pumped energy storage facility and it had a healthy response from developers. (An energy storage system might be feasible for Molokai too.)

One big reason for the interest in energy storage on Oahu is the success of its PV solar installations. 40,159 solar PV systems are interconnected with HECO’s grids, totaling about 300 MW of capacity. Not all are happy with the slowing of solar installations,  “[C]ritics in the solar industry say HECO’s new restrictions on solar are ruining a thriving market at the busiest time of year and leaving hundreds of solar customers in limbo. Many residential neighborhoods where single-family homes dominate and solar is most practical — like Mililani, Ewa and Hawaii Kai — have already reached  HECO’s penetration level for triggering studies,” explained the Civil Beat.

The utility gets about 18% of its electricity from renewable sources. It has a goal of getting 40% of its electricity sales from renewables by 2030.

HECO has written fairly extensively about energy storage on its site, with information about the four main types:

  • Mechanical: compressed air, flywheel, pumped storage hydroelectric
  • Electrochemical process: batteries and capacitors
  • Thermal process: molten salt, solar pond
  • Chemical Process: hydrogen

In January, a 115 MW oil-fired plant in Honolulu was beginning to undergo deactivation and by 2016 a total of 226 MW of such facilities are scheduled for the same fate.

Energy storage for renewables has seemed like something reserved for the distant future, but it appears to be closer than one might have assumed.

Related Story: Hawaii’s Biggest Utility Company Forced To Help Customers Install Solar Panels

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  • Drevney

    60 to 200 megawatts — that’s the size of proposed energy storage development…

    Watt units are [energy/time] which is not the correct unit for storage, it should be (?) megawatts-hour. With a population of 1M pepole on that island 200 MWH is about 0.5 of the mean daily consumption. Not much but not negligible.

    • JamesWimberley

      HECO’s plan is even less ambitious than you suggest: “to store 60 to 200 megawatts for up to 30 minutes”, so a maximum of 100MWH. It’s short-term storage for balancing fluctuations in output, say from passing clouds or a lull in wind, or in demand, like the proverbial half-time breaks in televised soccer matches in Britain when everybody switches on their electric kettle.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Their plan might make sense. Apparently they are having problems with the amount of solar now installed. They need something to smooth things out and storage makes the most sense.

        Start with a modest sized system. Iron out the bugs. Then expand.

        (There may also be an element of some people trying to fight the tide….)

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