- Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) has submitted to state regulators its final proposed renewables solicitation, laying out how it plans to acquire a range of non-emitting energy resources over the next five years to replace coal and oil-fired power plants.
- HECO says it plans to seek approximately 900 MW of new renewables, capable of generating about 2 million MWh each year. The requests for proposals (RFPs) are "among the largest single procurement efforts undertaken by a U.S. utility," the company said.
- For Oahu, HECO is seeking projects to replace the 180 MW coal-fired AES Hawaii plant, which is expected to close by September 2022. It is the island's largest generator on Oahu and meets 16% of peak demand.
HECO's 100% renewables goals stretch several islands and will require replacing a set of old and expensive fossil fuel-based resources that have been in service for decades. The finalized RFPs target Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island; the utility says proposals for Molokai and Lanai will be sought later this summer.
"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," HECO senior vice president Jim Alberts said in a statement.
The utility estimated it will need to acquire the equivalent of 594 MW of solar for Oahu, 135 MW for Maui and between 32 MW and 203 MW for Hawaii Island, "depending on whether other renewable energy projects become available."
Along with the AES coal plant, the resources will be used to retire the oil-fired Kahului Power Plant on Maui by the end of 2024. Plans for Hawaii Island hinge on whether the Puna Geothermal Venture plant returns to service and the Hu Honua biomass plant comes online as planned, but HECO said it will add some renewable resources in either event.
Pending regulators' approval, HECO hopes to issue the three final RFPs by Aug. 9, with an eye toward reaching contract negotiations in May 2020. The utility says the first projects would come online in 2022.