- Hawaiian Electric on Wednesday announced it has asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to review and approve contracts for seven solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project on Oahu and Maui, including nearly 300 MW of new renewable generation and almost 2,000 MWh of storage.
- Plus Power is developing the standalone Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) project on Oahu. "With a commercial operation date of June 2022, the 185 MW KES project will help facilitate the retirement of the last coal plant in Hawaii," Allyson Sand, a developer with Plus Power, said in an email. The island's 180 MW coal plant, owned by AES, is set to retire in September 2022.
- Longueuil, Quebec-based Innergex is developing Hawaiian Electric's Barbers Point and Kahana solar and battery energy storage (BESS) projects. The two projects combined will supply approximately 18,000 Hawaiian households, increase the state's energy independence "and contribute to lowering consumer's electricity bills over the long-term," Michel Letellier, Innergex president and CEO, said in an email.
Scheduled for completion in 2022 and 2023, the projects are estimated to add approximately 9% to Hawaiian Electric's renewable portfolio, the company said. Hawaiian Electric's renewable portfolio is expected to reach 30% by the end of the year, meeting the state's next renewable energy requirements.
The state's renewable portfolio standards call for 30% green energy by the end of this year, 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040, and 100% by 2045.
Innergex's Barbers Point solar project is a 15 MW facility with 4-hour / 60 MWh of battery energy storage to be located Oahu, and the Kahana solar project is a 20 MW facility with 4-hour/ 80 MWh of battery energy storage to be located on the island of Maui, according to the company. Both are planned to become operational in 2023.
The community outreach required of project developers is challenging during the pandemic, Hawaiian Electric said. "COVID-19 has restricted travel to the Islands for the last six months, though we are hoping for restrictions to ease shortly," according to a utility spokesperson.
"The biggest challenge is navigating through COVID-19 to ensure these projects can be developed on schedule," an AES Distributed Energy spokesperson said in an email. AES Distributed Energy is the developer for Hawaiian Electric's Waiawa and Mountain View solar-plus-storage projects. "We're deeply committed to seeing these projects to fruition and will be coordinating closely with the community, the utility and regulators to bring them online," the spokesperson said.
"Engaging the community and gaining local stakeholder support can often be a challenge for development projects, but our early-and-often approach to outreach with the local Kapolei community has helped us gain local support for the KES project," Plus Power's Sand said. The company "also has been very proactive in reaching out and collaborating with the Honolulu Fire Department ... in order to ensure close coordination with emergency responders throughout the lifecycle of the KES project."