Utility Hawaiian Electric, whose subsidiaries include Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light, has submitted contracts to the Public Utilities Commission for seven grid-scale solar-plus-storage projects on three islands.
The projects – three on Oahu, two on Maui and two on Hawaii Island – will add approximately 262 MW of solar energy with 1,048 MWh of storage.
In the 10 years since the state created the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, the Hawaiian Electric companies have reduced fossil fuel use by 26%, importing about 48 million fewer gallons of oil annually to generate electricity. These seven projects, if approved by regulators, have the potential to nearly double that reduction to 100 million gallons when compared to 2008, according to Hawaiian Electric.
The prices for six of the seven projects are the lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state. The prices reflect the contractual flexibility that enables the utility to dispatch energy from each facility to meet the needs of the grid, says Hawaiian Electric.
These prices, which are charged to customers with no mark-up or profit to the utility, are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour:
“We believe strongly that the renewable energy transformation should benefit everyone, and these seven projects will help stabilize customer costs while reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse-gas emissions,” states Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric’s senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.
The projects are the result of a procurement effort the companies began in February 2018 to expand their renewable energy portfolios. An additional project, a 12.5 MW solar array in West Oahu that will include a 50 MWh storage system, is also planned, with the contract expected to be submitted to regulators in coming weeks.
Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light already have more than 500 MW of renewable energy under contract in addition to nearly 80,000 private rooftop systems in operation.