AES to build solar energy storage project in Hawaii

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AES Distributed Energy, a unit of AES Corp., and KauaàŠ»i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) announced Jan. 10 the execution of a power purchase agreement for a plant that will provide solar energy together with the benefits of battery-based energy storage for optimal balancing of generation with peak demand.

The project consists of 28 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) and a 20 MW five-hour duration energy storage system. The system will be located on former sugar cane land between Là„waàŠ»i and Kà…loa on KauaàŠ»i’s south shore. It will be the largest solar-plus-utility-scale-battery system in the state of Hawaii.

“We are honored that KIUC has selected AES to help meet their peak demand with a flexible and reliable renewable energy solution,” said Woody Rubin, president of AES Distributed Energy. “We are excited to be able to leverage AES’ energy storage platform, and 20 plus-year history in Hawai’i to help KIUC modernize the grid and provide additional value to its customers.”

“Energy from the project will be priced at 11 cents per kWh and will provide 11 percent of KauaàŠ»i’s electric generation, increasing KIUC’s renewable sourced generation to well over 50 percent,” said KIUC president and CEO David Bissell. “The project delivers power to the island’s electrical grid at significantly less than the current cost of oil-fired power and should help stabilize and even reduce electric rates to KIUC’s members. It is remarkable that we are able to obtain fixed pricing for dispatchable solar-based renewable energy, backed by a significant battery system, at about half the cost of what a basic direct to grid solar project cost a few years ago.”

Bissell estimates that the project will reduce KIUC’s fossil fuel usage by over 3.7 million gallons yearly. AES DE will be the long-term owner and operator of the project. The project is pending state and local regulatory approvals. If approved, it is expected to come on-line by late 2018.

AES Corp. is a Fortune 200 global power company providing affordable, sustainable energy to 17 countries through its diverse portfolio of distribution businesses as well as thermal and renewable generation facilities. AES Distributed Energy is one of ten businesses that make up the AES U.S. Strategic Business Unit, providing renewable energy solutions to a diverse customer base including utilities, corporations, and governmental entities.

AES Energy Storage is a leader in commercial energy storage solutions. Its Advancion 4 energy storage solution is available for sale to leading utilities, power markets, and independent power producers. AES Energy Storage introduced the first grid-scale advanced battery-based energy storage solution in commercial operations in 2008 and operates the largest fleet of battery-based storage assets in service. It has a total of 436 MW of interconnected energy storage, equivalent to 872 MW of flexible resource, in operation, construction or late stage development in seven countries.

KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 33,000 customers on the island of KauaàŠ»i.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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