The Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries are in contract negotiations with developers to add a potential 260 megawatts (MW) worth of solar and over 1 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of storage in what would be the largest infusion of renewable energy capacity in Hawai’i’s history.
Hawai’i has already made big on its commitment to renewable energy capacity as it seeks to secure 100% of its electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 2045 — the result of a directive from the state’s Governor in June of 2015. In return, a year and a half later, the Hawaiian Electric Companies — including parent company Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light — detailed plans which would see it exceed each of the interim renewable energy targets (in 2020, 2030, and 2040) and reach 100% renewable energy by 2040, five years ahead of the mandated target.
It is, therefore, unsurprising to see the Hawaiian Electric Companies announce what will be the largest infusion of renewable energy capacity in the State’s history. A total of seven projects are being considered, including:
- On Oahu, three projects totaling approximately 120 MW and 515 MWh of storage
- On Maui, two projects totaling approximately 75 MW and 300 MWh of storage
- On Hawai’i Island, two projects totaling approximately 60 megawatts and 240 MWh of storage
If approved by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, the projects will help displace a total of 1.2 million barrels of fossil fuel-equivalent per year, and build on the existing 500 MW worth of renewable energy already under contract, and the additional 80,000 private rooftop solar systems in operation across the islands.
“These large-scale solar and battery projects will accelerate our renewable energy drive at some of the lowest prices we’ve seen to date,” said Shelee Kimura, senior vice president of business development and strategic planning for the Hawaiian Electric Company. “With support from our communities, these projects will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting all with low-cost renewable energy.”
The seven projects are the result of an expedited procurement effort initiated by the Companies in February of this year in an effort to expand their renewable energy portfolios. Working in tandem with the Public Utilities Commission, the Companies increased their original procurement scope for Hawai’i Island from the equivalent of 20 MW to 60 MW, expedited project selection, and increased the total number of projects expected for this procurement phase across all three islands.