Hawaiian utility seeking nearly 900 MW renewables for islands

Hawaiian Electric Co. has put out its desire for close to 900 MW of new renewable energy resources starting in three years.

HEC called it one of the largest single clean energy procurement efforts by a U.S. utility. It expects to gain approval of the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) later this summer, opening to bids from developers globally and locally.

Pending that approval, the first projects would come online in 2022. These draft proposals are the result of extensive consultation led by the PUC with participation of the Hawaiian Electric Companies, the consumer advocate and stakeholders.

“We’ve attempted to develop a competitive bidding plan that addresses concerns of all stakeholders while maintaining a fair process to reach our aggressive clean energy goals,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for business development and strategic planning. “Among our guiding principles are that transparency, predictability and streamlining lowers costs to customers and that community engagement is essential to success.”

Estimated targets of new renewable generation of various technologies are the equivalent of 594 MW of solar for Oahu; 135 MW for Maui and 32 to 203 MW for Hawaii Island, depending on whether other renewable energy projects become available. Proposals for Molokai and Lanai will be sought later this summer.

For Oahu, new projects are needed to replace the 180-MW coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in Campbell Industrial Park due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on Oahu, meeting 16 percent of peak demand.

For Maui, the generation and storage is needed for the planned retirement of Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.

Hawaiian Electric already gains more than a quarter of its generation from renewable resources. It serves more than 300,000 customers with a combination of oil, diesel, wind, solar, biofuel, waste to energy and coal-fired power.


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