Hawaiian Electric Companies unveil new renewable energy procurement plan

Published on July 19, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

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Hawaiian Electric Companies recently released a new procurement plan, which would significantly increase the company’s renewable energy resources and enable the company to provide reliable service following several fossil fuel plant closures.

After approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, which is expected this summer, the second phase of renewable energy procurement will open to bids from developers. Pending approval, the first projects are expected to come online in 2022.

The estimated targets for new renewable generation are the equivalent of 594 megawatts (MW) of solar for Oahu, 135 MW for Maui and 32 to 203 MW for Hawaii Island, dependent on whether other renewable energy projects become available. The company will seek proposals for Molokai and Lanai later this summer.

The approximately 900 MW of new renewables would be among the largest single procurement efforts by a U.S. utility.

In addition to variable renewable generation with or without energy storage, the second phase of procurement will be open to standalone storage and grid services.

“We’ve attempted to develop a competitive bidding plan that addresses concerns of all stakeholders while maintaining a fair process to reach our aggressive clean energy goals,” Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for business development and strategic planning, said. “Among our guiding principles are that transparency, predictability, and streamlining lower costs to customers and that community engagement is essential to success.”

New generation is needed to replace several fossil fuel plants that are scheduled to close. The 180-megawatt coal-fired AES Hawaii plant, which serves Oahu, is due to close by September 2022. The plant is the largest single generator on Oahu and meets 16 percent of peak demand. The company also plans to retire Maui’s Kahului Power Plant, a 37.6 MW oil-fired plant, by the end of 2024.