- Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is looking for proposals for large-scale energy storage projects that can support the company's solar and wind generation on the island of Oahu.
- The company wants to be able to store 60-200 MW for up to 30 minutes. HECO also wants to use storage to ensure that power supply generated from solar and wind stays at a stable 60 Hz and to provide support for small adjustments in load throughout the day.
- Contracts will be judged on their cost, design and viability. Bidders have until June to file their proposals before HECO files with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. The company anticipates a decision from the commission by the year's end, and says the storage projects should be up and running by the beginning of 2017.
The storage RFP comes shortly after the Hawaii PUC's rejection of HECO's Integrated Resource Plan, which it said appeared to be "a series of unrelated capital projects without strategic focus on the clear issues facing the utility, and did not indicate further progress towards a sustainable business model.”
Compelled by HECO's inability to "articulate a sustainable business model," the PUC issued its inclinations on the future of Hawaii's electric utilities. The PUC directed HECO to pursue the business model of becoming a "world-leading operator" of a grid with high penetrations of renewables and distributed generation. The PUC proposed significant reforms in its paper, including accelerating the retirement of fossil-fired generation, aggressively pursuing large-scale renewables, developing microgrids, upgrading the transmission and distribution systems to become a two-way integrated network, enabling the proliferation of distributed energy resources and prohibiting HECO from owning generation.