Hawaiian Electric, Innergex terminate contract for new grid-scale solar, battery storage in South Maui

Published on December 01, 2023 by Chris Galford

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Planned solar and battery projects on Maui, Hawaii are dead on arrival, after Hawaiian Electric and developer Innergex Renewable Energy announced the termination of an agreement between them, ending a delay-plagued saga ongoing since 2018.

Of five solar projects approved for Maui since 2018, only one is now being built – the AES Corp.’s 60 MW Kuihelani project. Four power purchase agreements were scuttled, owing to the developer’s legal challenges and pandemic-related cost and supply chain issues.

“It’s unfortunate we aren’t able to move forward with Paeahu Solar, which was a key component of Hawaiian Electric’s effort to retire fossil fuel generators on Maui, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize customer costs,” said Mike DeCaprio, vice president of power supply for Hawaiian Electric. “Maui is facing critical deadlines for bringing on new resources by the end of the decade and the loss of Paeahu and other projects is concerning.”

Paeahu Solar was one of the five projects approved by the Public Utilities Commission for Maui over the past five years, and Hawaiian Electric viewed it in particular as critical to its ongoing transition plans. It was to consist of a 15 MW solar array and 60 MWh storage system capable of powering about 6,900 homes per year cleanly.

Notably, this has not changed the deadlines facing Hawaiian Electric. It must still retire its oil-fired Kahului Power Plant by 2028 to meet environmental regulations and the unavailability of replacement parts for units at its Maalaea Power Plant has made its future uncertain as well beyond 2030. Meeting goals will now be significantly trickier for the power company.