Hawaiian Electric Companies issue call for projects to accelerate islands’ renewable energy transition
The Hawaiian Electric Companies are beginning Hawaii’s largest procurement effort for renewable energy resources to end the use of coal and reduce reliance on imported oil for power generation, moving the state closer to its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2045.
“Hawaiian Electric has made huge strides toward our renewable energy goals and will end this year achieving a renewable generation portfolio of 30 percent,” said Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. “This effort is a big step in accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to locally-sourced clean energy resources.
With the approval of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have issued requests for proposals for renewable energy and grid services from developers locally and globally.
Approximately 900 MW of new renewables or renewables paired with storage – generating about 2 million MWh annually – are sought. It is among the largest single renewable energy procurements undertaken by a US utility.
This includes estimated targets of technologies equal to 594 MW of solar for O’ahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawaii, depending on whether other renewable energy projects are available on that island.
On Hawaii Island, solar must include storage but is optional for other technologies. On O’ahu, pairing generation with energy storage is optional. Storage on O’ahu and Maui is also being sought to replace firm generating units. This can be provided by renewable generation paired with storage or standalone storage. Contingency storage is also being sought for O’ahu and Hawaii islands.
For O’ahu, new renewable generation and storage is needed to replace the 180-megawatt coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in Campbell Industrial Park due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on O’ahu, meeting 16% of peak demand.
For Maui, new renewable generation and storage is needed for the planned retirement of Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.
A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will help system operators manage reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs. The companies are seeking grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for O’ahu, Maui, and Hawaii islands with targets ranging from 4 MW – 119 MW. This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernising the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy.
Final requests for proposals are expected to be issued later this year for the equivalent of 4 MW of solar or 3.6 MW of small wind for Moloka’i, paired with energy storage, and an equivalent up to 9.5 MW of solar paired with energy storage for Lana’i, pending approval by the PUC.
Due to the complexity of projects sought, the PUC has chosen independent observers and a technical adviser to assure that all proposals – including ‘self-build’ projects proposed by the companies – are treated fairly and equitably and will not interact to create technical problems on island grids.
These final requests for proposals are the result of extensive collaboration led by the PUC with participation of the company, the consumer advocate, and other stakeholders.
The company’s guiding principles in seeking renewable energy and grid services include transparency, predictability and streamlining to lower costs for customers, with community engagement essential to success.
Pending negotiations of contracts and final approvals, the first renewable generation projects from this phase would come online in 2022 with the total amount of MW expected by 2025.