HECO is seeking approval for 262 MW »solar plus storage« plants in Hawaii
Post date: 06/01/2019 - 11:12
Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. (HECO) has submitted contracts for seven grid-scale, solar-plus-storage projects on three islands to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review. According to the utility, »the projects are part of the largest and lowest cost portfolio of new renewable energy resources to be assembled in Hawaii.«
The projects – three on Oahu, two on Maui and two on Hawaii Island – will add approximately 262 MW of solar energy with 1,048 MWh of storage. The energy storage can provide four hours of electricity that can further reduce fossil fuel use during peak demand in the evening or at other times when the sun isn't shining. »These seven projects, if approved by regulators, have the potential to nearly double that reduction to 100 million gallons compared to 2008.«
The prices for six of the seven projects are the lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state. All of the projects will provide stable, long-term prices in place of the volatile prices of fossil fuels. These prices, which are charged to customers with no mark-up or profit to the utility, are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about ¢15 per kilowatt-hour.
The projects are the result of a procurement effort the companies began in February 2018 to expand their renewable energy portfolios. As reported, HECO announced in October 2018 that the company was in contract negotiations with the developers. According to HECO, AES will develop »Waikoloa Solar« on Hawaii (capacity 30 MW, storage 120 MWh, cost per kWh $0.08) and »Kuihelani Solar« on Maui (60 MW, 240 MWh, $0.08). Innergex will develop also two facilities: »Hale Kuawehi« on Hawaii (30 MW, 120 MWh, $0.09) and »Paeahu Solar« on Maui (15 MW, 60 MWh, $0.12). The developer 174 Power Global will build the »Hoohana« plant on Oahu (52 MW, 208 MWh, $0.10). Clearway will construct »Mililani I Solar« (39 MW, 156 MWh, $0.09) and »Waiawa Solar« (36 MW, 144 MWh, $0.10), both on Oahu.
An additional project, a 12.5 MW solar array in West Oahu that will include a 50 MWh storage system, is also being planned, with the contract expected to be submitted to regulators in coming weeks.
Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light already have more than 500 MW of renewable energy under contract in addition to nearly 80,000 private rooftop systems in operation. The cost of renewable energy continues to drop, aided by tax credits available to developers.