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Hawaiian Electric Companiesʻ New Projects to Expand Clean Energy For Three Islands

October 12, 2018, 4:29 PM HST · Updated October 12, 4:29 PM
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Hawaiʻi Electric Companies (HECO) are negotiating contracts with developers for seven major solar-plus-storage projects on Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi island. According to HECO, these projects are the largest combination of renewable energy in state history.

Each solar project will be connected to a storage system that will capture up to four hours of electricity. The negotiations are expected to establish long-term contracts for approximately 260 megawatts (MW) of solar energy between all three islands.These projects can help reduce fossil fuel use in the evening or other times when the sun is not shining, HECO said.

“These large-scale solar and battery projects will accelerate our renewable energy drive at some of the lowest prices we’ve seen to date,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electricʻs senior vice president of business development and strategic planning. “With support from our communities, these projects will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting all with low-cost renewable energy.”

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawai‘i Electric Light already have more than 500 MW of renewable energy under contract and nearly 80,000 private rooftop systems running. The cost of renewable energy continues to drop with the help of tax credits for developers, HECO said.

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According to HECO, if the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approves these projects, they will help replace another 1.2 million barrels of fossil fuel each year.

These seven projects are a part of the companiesʻ procurement efforts to expand their renewable energy portfolios. Working with the PUC, the companies have increased their original procurement scope for Hawaiʻi island from 20 MW to 60 MW, expedited project selection, and increased the total number of projects anticipated across all three islands in this phase of the process.

The seven projects include:

  • Three projects on Oʻahu that total approximately 120 megawatts and 515 megawatt-hours of storage.
  • Two projects on Maui that total approximately 75 megawatts and 300 megawatt-hours of storage.
  • Two projects on Hawai‘i Island that total approximately 60 megawatts and 240 megawatt- hours of storage.
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HECO said they have now made community outreach a formal part of their procurement process. This will require those seeking to build a project to reach out to the communities near the project site early on in the process.

Developers will begin community outreach activities in the coming weeks. Community members will have the opportunity to comment on these proposed projects, which HECO will file with the PUC as a part of the regulatory approval process.

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