State Moves Closer in its Plan to Ship Wind Energy From Maui to Oahu
The state is seeking bids from companies interested in linking Maui County to Oahu using a system of undersea cables.
The proposed project was unveiled a year ago when the state entered into an agreement with Hawaiian Electric companies to connect the islands into one electrical grid, allowing renewable wind power generated in Maui County to be transmitted to Oahu for consumption.
Those opposed to the project rejected the concept of valuable resources begin shipped off island; and argued that resources should benefit the respective islands first.
Governor Linda Lingle voiced her support for the project saying, “The interisland cable project is an important piece of infrastructure needed to achieve the goal of the Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative of 70 percent clean energy by 2030.” Â “We are committed to making sure all environmental, economic, cultural and community issues are fully addressed,” she said.
“As the most oil-dependent state in the nation, a clean energy future is no longer simply a desire, it is an absolute necessity. Â The State-Hawaiian Electric energy agreement represents a bold step towards achieving energy security, and the progress made over the past year demonstrates that Hawai’i can serve as a clean energy role model for the rest of the nation,” said Lingle.
Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm said, “This achievement – and achievements yet to come – depend on an unprecedented unity of purpose and willingness to cooperate among individuals, businesses, institutions and government in Hawaii.Â Whether oil prices go up or down, we must stay focused on making the long-term investments to get to a clean energy future.”
In September, the PUC issued its decision and order on the feed-in tariff principles, which provides a price guarantee for electricity produced by sun, wind and hydroelectric sources that Hawaiian Electric companies will pay for renewable energy fed into the electricity grid. Â The set rate under the feed-in tariff provides an incentive for renewable energy developers to invest in Hawai’i by creating certainty and transparency.
In addition, Clean Energy Scenario Planning and Advanced Meter Infrastructure or “Smart-Grid” (planning ahead to enable more distribution of renewable energy on the grid) are among the other PUC proceedings underway.
Maui already has a 30 megawatt wind farm located in the hills above Ukumehame.Â First Wind’s Kaheawa facility became the first operating wind farm in the United States to have a habitat conservation plan.
The EIS for the Undersea cable project will consider the impacts from the installation, operation, maintenance, possible repair, and potential long term development envisioned for the interisland power cable, mitigation strategies, and alternatives. Â A contract award is expected by the end of this calendar year.
(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting information provided by the Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)