- Hawaiian Electric (HECO) on Thursday launched its largest-ever renewable energy procurement, seeking approximately 900 MW between Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, with the first projects coming online in 2022.
- Hawaii is aiming to supply 100% renewable energy by 2045, and HECO officials say by the end of this year renewable generation will make up almost a third of the utility's generation portfolio.
- Energy storage is optional for projects on Oahu and mandatory for projects proposed on Maui. On Hawaii Island, solar projects must include storage but it is optional for other technologies.
HECO is seeking resources to generate about 2 million MWh annually in order to end the utility's use of coal and continue reducing its reliance on expensive oil-fired power.
"This effort is a big step in accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to locally-sourced clean energy resources," HECO President and CEO Alan Oshima said in a statement. The utility will have a 30% renewable generation portfolio by the end of this year, he said.
The request for proposals seeks technologies equal to 594 MW of solar for Oahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawaii Island, "depending on whether other renewable energy projects are available on that island."
On Oahu, HECO needs to replace the 180 MW coal-fired AES Hawaii plant, which is set to close by September 2022. The plant is Oahu's largest single generator, meeting 16% of peak demand. On Maui, HECO seeks new renewable generation and storage due to the planned retirement of 37.6 MW oil-fired Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.
HECO said a separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will help manage the electric system. The utility seeks grid services including fast frequency response and capacity for Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii islands with targets ranging from 4 MW to 119 MW.
"This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernizing the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy," the utility said.
HECO said it expects to finalize two other RFPs later this year: On Molokai the utility will pursue the equivalent of 4 MW of solar or 3.6 MW of small wind; on Lanai, it will seek the equivalent of up to 9.5 MW of solar paired with energy storage.
Depending on approvals and other factors, HECO said the first renewable generation projects from this RFP are expected to come online in 2022, with the total new capacity online by 2025. Grid services projects could begin coming online next year, with the total expected by 2022.
HECO completed the first phase of its renewable procurement strategy last year, when it negotiated contracts for eight projects on three islands. State regulators approved seven projects adding approximately 260 MW of solar energy with over 1 GWh of storage by the end of 2021; one project is still pending, say utility officials.