Hawaiian Electric projects $3.5-$4B to be invested into 29 renewable energy projects

Published on July 06, 2020 by Chris Galford

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Touting the investment as a potential boost to Hawaii’s recovery from COVID-19, Hawaiian Electric announced last week that its planned 29 gid-scale renewable energy projects on four islands will represent between $3.5-4 billion for the economy.

Of those projects, 14 are currently underway on Oahu, eight on Hawaii Island, and seven on Maui. Plus, rooftop solar continues to expand: more than 3,000 private rooftop solar projects have been interconnected on the islands this year, representing more than $65 million in investments from businesses and homeowners on Oahu alone. Those investments will end up offsetting electric bills and contribute to larger renewable energy goals for the state.

Today, Hawaiian Electric hosts a renewable portfolio standard of around 28 percent. The company notes that all of these efforts have the potential to jump that percentage up to more than 60 percent by 2026. On Hawaii Island, nearly 100 percent of energy could become renewable. Of the projects previously listed, all but three will also be built, owned, and operated by independent power producers selling electricity to Hawaiian Electric.

“From the installation of one rooftop solar system to building a project that provides power to the grid, the clean energy industry is providing jobs and revenue at a time when Hawaii is working to get back on its feet economically,” Jim Alberts, senior vice president of business development and strategic planning for Hawaiian Electric, said. “By maintaining the momentum, we can support economic recovery and make a lot of progress toward our goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2045.”

Other benefits, the company alleges, include reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported fuels. Besides, all the new projects should bring construction and technical jobs with them, bringing business to local entities, lease payments to landowners and government agencies, and generating tax revenue that benefits the public.