Distributed Energy Resources

Utilities seek 900 MW of renewables or renewables plus storage

The Hawaiian Electric Companies -- Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and the Hawaii Electric Light Company -- issued requests for proposals for approximately 900 megawatts of new renewables or renewables paired with storage, generating about 2 million megawatt-hours annually.

This includes estimated targets of 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.

It is among the largest single renewable energy procurements undertaken by a U.S. utility, the utilities said.

The procurement effort for renewable energy resources is part of a push in Hawaii to end the use of coal and reduce reliance on imported oil for power generation, moving the state closer to its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

Projects for Maui must include energy storage. On Hawaii Island, solar must include storage but is optional for other technologies. On Oahu, pairing generation with energy storage is optional. Storage on Oahu and Maui is also being sought to replace firm generating units. This can be provided by renewable generation paired with storage or standalone storage. Contingency storage is also being sought for Oahu and Hawaii islands.

For Oahu, new renewable generation and storage is needed to replace the 180-megawatt coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in Campbell Industrial Park due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on Oahu, meeting 16 percent of peak demand.

For Maui, new renewable generation and storage is needed for the planned retirement of the oil-fired Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.

A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will help system operators manage reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs, the utilities noted.

The companies are seeking grid services such as 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.

Final requests for proposals are expected to be issued later this year for the equivalent of 4 MW of solar or 3.6 MW of small wind for Molokai, paired with energy storage, and an equivalent up to 9.5 MW of solar paired with energy storage for Lanai, pending approval by the PUC.

Pending negotiations of contracts and final approvals, the first renewable generation projects from this phase would come online in 2022 with the total amount of megawatts expected by 2025.

In the first phase of the renewable procurement, completed in 2018, the companies negotiated contracts for eight projects on three islands. The PUC approved seven projects on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island that will add approximately 260 MW of solar energy with over 1 gigawatt-hour of storage by the end of 2021. One project is pending commission approval.

The long-term prices negotiated for those projects average 9.38 cents per kilowatt-hour and are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, the utilities said.

Additional details are available here.