Hawaiian utility selects huge solar and storage proposals on way to 100% renewables | RenewEconomy

Hawaiian utility selects huge solar and storage proposals on way to 100% renewables

Hawaiian Electric selects 459MW of solar generation and nearly 3GWh of power storage projects as part of plans to meet the island state’s 100% renewable energy target.

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The Hawaiian Electric Company, the largest electric utility on the Hawaiian Islands, has selected 16 solar-plus-storage or standalone storage projects on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii that will deliver a combined 459MW of solar generation and nearly 3GWh of power storage.

The projects were awarded as part of Hawaiian Electric’s efforts to transition to using 100% renewable energy for electric generation by 2045, and date back to a request for proposals issued by the company back in August of 2019 – then the largest single renewable energy procurement effort in Hawaii and among the largest by any US utility.

This followed a 2018 solicitation for projects which reached the contract stage in early 2019 for the addition of approximately 262MW of solar energy and 1,048MWh of energy storage.

A total of 16 projects amounting to 459MW of solar generation and 2.852GWh of energy storage were selected, and Hawaiian Electric will now enter contract negotiations with successful developers who will, in turn, begin outreach in the communities where they plan to develop.

The total suite of procured solar and storage projects will be announced in 30 days or sooner – depending on when developers start their community engagement efforts.

As with most such efforts, all contracts will need to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

Hawaiian Electric did provide some basic information about the awarded projects, including the totals to be awarded to each of the three islands. Eight solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project were selected on the island of Oahu, totalling approximately 287MW of solar generation and 1.8GWh of storage.

Another three solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totalling approximately 100MW of generation and 560MWh of storage were awarded for Maui Island, while two solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 72MW of generation and 492MWh of storage were awarded for Hawaii Island.

“We went big with the scope of this request for proposals to see what the renewable energy market would support and to ensure lots of competition,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for business development and strategic planning.

“The projects chosen provide the best opportunity for customer savings and realistic timelines for completion so we can keep our clean energy transition on track.”

Projects were selected based on several selection criteria including price, location, technology, and a plan for meaningful community engagement.

“Even though these are all solar or low-profile storage projects, we know there’s increasing concern about the location of renewable energy projects,” Alberts said. “That’s why we say we need everyone working together – developers, government, communities and Hawaiian Electric – if we’re going to meet our clean energy goals.”

As already mentioned, specific developer information was not the priority of the announcement, however, there is already some known information.

Hawaiian Electric itself submitted five project proposals, of which only two were chosen – a 40MW/160MWh standalone energy storage system on Maui Island and a 12MW/12MWh standalone storage system on Hawaii Island.

Similarly, Canadian renewable energy developer Innergex Renewable Energy announced on Tuesday that it was one of the winners in the Hawaiian Electric solicitation, being awarded two projects with 35MW of solar generation and 140MWh of battery storage.

Specifically, Innergex will develop a 15MW solar and 60MWh battery storage facility located on the island of O’ahu and a 20MW solar and 80MWh battery storage facility located on the Maui Island.

“Innergex already has two projects in development in Hawaii,” said Michel Letellier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innergex. “Adding these two extra projects will enable Innergex to achieve its strategic priority of developing its expertise in battery storage and increasing its presence in the United States while supporting Hawaii in its journey to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045.

We look forward to continuing to engage with the local communities where these future sites are proposed, introduce our team, and provide information about the projects.”

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