- Hawaiian Electric Co. and the University of Hawaii have agreed to jointly develop a renewable energy initiative that will utilize a "green tariff" and a competitive bidding process to develop projects and reduce the school's environmental footprint.
- A joint university-utility working group will develop a model tariff, eligibility requirements, cost structure and other details. The tariff must be approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
- The initiative will allow renewable energy generated at sites away from the university to serve campus locations, while helping the utility to meet a 100% clean energy goal.
Hawaiian utilities, as the only power companies in the country mandated to achieve 100% clean energy, are looking to their largest customers to help develop the resources needed to achieve that goal.
"The University of Hawaii is a leading institution in our state and one of our largest customers,” Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, said in a statement. “Our continuing collaboration over many years has benefited our community. This latest initiative will help the university, our community and our customers as we strive for our common clean energy goals.”
The joint work group will evaluate sites for possible renewable energy development, with an initial focus on utility-scale projects that would offset energy use at the Manoa campus. The working group will also consider technologies currently on the market, including combined solar-storage systems, to supply cost-effective renewable energy.
The projects will be competitively bid. If they are able to provide green energy at a lower cost, then the model could be applied elsewhere on the island. Under state law, HECO utilities must meet a 30% renewables goal by 2020, rising to 100% by the end of 2045. By the end of this year, the companies expect to exceed 27% clean energy.
But in its latest Power Supply Improvement Plan, HECO described how it intends to reach 100% renewables by 2040—five years ahead of the state's mandated goal. The plan aims for the addition of 360 MW of grid-scale solar, 157 MW of wind energy and 115 MW from demand response programs by 2040.
The proposed green tariff also fits within a trend of utilities offering such programs to "key accounts," namely customers with large power needs. Duke Energy and NV Energy are two utilities who have offered so-called green tariffs in the past as corporations and other large consumers set sustainability goals.