- Hawaiian Electric on Wednesday announced a pair of grid-scale energy storage projects planned to boost reliability on Oahu, utilize more renewable power and reduce fossil fuel generation.
- The two lithium-ion systems include a 20 MW battery project which will support the 20 MW West Loch Solar project; and a 100 MW system at HECO's Campbell Industrial Park Generating Station.
- The utility is drawing on a diverse set of resources to meet the state's 100% renewable energy goals. This month the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, which must also approve the storage projects, signed off on a new on-bill financing option designed to make efficiency and renewable energy available to a slate of customers — particularly renters, low-income households and nonprofits.
Hawaii is in the midst of overhauling its utility sector and is developing plans to reach the state's 100% renewable goals.
HECO's plans to roll out large amounts of renewable energy will need assistance from energy storage, the utility said. The combined energy storage projects will cost almost $150 million, if approved.
The West Loch project would be a 20 MW / 80 MWh battery on land leased from the U.S. Navy for the West Loch solar project. It is estimated to cost $43.5 million. Construction could launch in October of next year, with the battery in service less than six months later. Pairing the storage project with solar energy will make it eligible for the federal investment tax credit, to save customers 30% on the cost.
The smaller of the two batteries will reduce the need for oil-fired generation during the evening peak and at night.
The larger Campbell Industrial Park battery would be a 100-MW / 100-MWh system envisioned as part of a group of large-scale energy storage to provide contingency and regulating reserves on Oahu. Construction is expected to launch in October 2019, with the project in service a year later at an estimated cost of $104 million.
HECO is also accepting proposals for new grid-scale renewable generation that includes storage, to further utilize the federal tax credit. The utilities are seeking 220 MW of renewables for Oahu, 60 MW for Maui and 20 MW for Hawaii Island.
"Using the battery to provide reserves – or backup – in place of running conventional power plants will reduce fuel costs for customers so the project will ultimately pay for itself," HECO said.
The utility is developing an emissions-free all-of-the-above approach. As part of that, HECO is looking to assist customers with reducing their energy use and securing their own renewable energy.
The on-bill financing option will allow customers to overcome up-front costs and financing. The program is designed to reduce utility bills at least 10%.
As Hawaii adds renewable energy, it will need to look harder to find opportunities to reduce usage and add clean energy. Some customer segments, like renters, have been harder to reach but are essential to meeting the state's goals. The new Green Energy Money $aver (GEM$) on-bill program targets these groups by removing the traditional barriers.
Regulators are also considering performance-based rates which aim to focus the state's utilities on increased levels of renewable energy, lower costs and better customer service.