Hawaiian Electric Companies, the largest electric utility on the Hawaiian Islands, has submitted contracts for seven grid-scale solar-plus-storage projects which will add approximately 262 MW of solar energy and 1,048 MWh of energy storage to the islands.
The seven projects are part of the largest and lowest-cost portfolio of new renewable energy resources ever to be assembled in Hawaii and were announced at the beginning of the year – only days before the inauguration of the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project, the largest operational solar and storage system in the world.
The projects will be spread out over the islands of Oahu (3), Maui (2), and Hawaii Island (2) and, on top of the 262MW of solar generation capacity, the energy storage will be able to provide four hours of electricity.
If approved by state regulators, the projects have the potential to nearly double the state’s reduction of fossil fuel use through renewable energy. The seven projects are the result of a nearly year-long procurement effort by Hawaiian Electric in an effort to expand the utilities renewable energy portfolio.
An eighth project, a 12.5 MW/50MWh solar-plus-storage system is also being planned and the contract for that project is expected to be seen in the coming weeks.
Maybe more importantly, however, was the low cost of the projects, with prices for six of the seven projects rated as the lowest to date for renewable electricity in Hawaii.
“We believe strongly that the renewable energy transformation should benefit everyone and these seven projects will help stabilize customer costs while reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.
Hawaii’s solar-plus-storage ambitions were only solidified a few days later when last week the AES Corporation and the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) inaugurated the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project, the largest operational solar and storage peaker system in the world. With generation capacity of 28 MW and storage of 100 MWh for five-hours duration, Lāwa’I will help Hawaii meet its 100% renewable energy target, set for 2045.
“Kaua’i has adopted an ambitious renewables mandate and the Lāwa’i project will help reduce its reliance on fossil fuels while generating clean, reliable and affordable energy,” said Andrés Gluski, AES President and Chief Executive Officerv.
“As a supplier of power to Hawaii for more than 25 years, we are honored to have been chosen by KIUC to help demonstrate its commitment to the state’s vision of a cleaner energy future. We believe this project is a significant step toward ushering in the wider era of firm renewables.”
Located on Kauaʻi’s south shore, the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project is said to eliminate 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year, while supporting three vital scenarios detailed by AES:
- .It allows for solar generation to supply the grid while charging the battery system.
- .It dispatches power stored in the battery system to the grid during peak demand periods.
- .It can dispatch solar and battery power simultaneously to answer spikes in demand in addition to supporting the grid through provision of ancillary services.