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HECO pursues energy storage system so it can take more PV

By Alan Yonan Jr.

LAST UPDATED: 12:32 p.m. HST, May 02, 2014

Hawaiian Electric Co. officials said Friday they are seeking a contractor to build one or more large-scale energy storage systems that will help the utility absorb larger amounts of solar and other renewable energy on its Oahu grid.

Under HECO's specifications the project would need to be able to store 60 to 200 megawatts of electricity for up to 30 minutes, according to a news release from the utility. Such a system would help offset the volatility of solar and wind energy that can negatively affect the quality of power on HECO's power distribution grid.

A combination of both rooftop photovoltaic systems and utility-scale wind and solar projects provide electricity to more than 11 percent of HECO's customers on Oahu, according to the utility.

"Energy Storage is one of the key missing elements in integrating high levels of renewable energy from variable sources like solar and wind," said Colton Ching, HECO vice president for electricity delivery.

The deadline for bidders to submit proposals is July 21. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative in March put out a similar request for bidders for an energy storage project, and received about 90 bids by an April 18 deadline.

Potential contractors will be evaluated on the overall cost of their proposals and non-price factors, such as design concept and feasibility, implementation and operational viability and operating flexibility, according to the news release.

HECO invited bidders to propose the "best available" technologies, including batteries, mechanical flywheels, capacitors, compressed gas systems, pumped storage hydro, or a combination of technologies.

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lowtone123 wrote:
And yet their energy costs savings aren't passed on to their customers...Hawaii residents pays over 37 cents per kilowatt hour. Next highest state? New York at almost 22 cents per kilowatt hour.
on May 2,2014 | 11:01AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
I missed the part of the article that says they're currently saving money. I'm definitely no apologist for HECO, but let's have them get the system in first before asking them to pass the savings on to their customers.
on May 2,2014 | 11:05AM
goodday wrote:
energy storage is very expensive and will probably increase rates. it's ok clean energy is what the people want.
on May 2,2014 | 11:32AM
lowtone123 wrote:
You think with more people with PV on the grid the cost to consumers would be less, right? Wrong! It actually went up from 36.58 cents in Feb '13 to 37.11 cents/kwh.
on May 2,2014 | 11:04AM
localguy wrote:
CEO needed some extra pocket money, around $100k. You know where this came from.
on May 2,2014 | 02:43PM
lowtone123 wrote:
US average price 12 cents/kwh.
on May 2,2014 | 11:05AM
goodday wrote:
PV cannot come anywhere close to beating coal, natural gas, and hydro at mainland prices. PV is a very expensive investment even with the tax credits.
on May 2,2014 | 11:31AM
localguy wrote:
That may be but coal is too polluting, not an option for the Nei. Hydro isn't available here. Natural gas is coming but will be a while. PV is the best option for the Nei next to geothermal which the big island has more than enough to eliminate oil fired power production. So why isn't this working now? Ask HECO.
on May 2,2014 | 02:45PM
lwandcah wrote:
"Energy Storage is one of the key missing elements in integrating high levels of renewable energy from variable sources like solar and wind," said Colton Ching, HECO vice president for electricity delivery. Did you come up with that all by yourself? Dah. And who's fault is it that it's missing? HECO!
on May 2,2014 | 11:19AM
inverse wrote:
Options: 1) super flywheel 2) lithium-based battery bank way beyond the capacity for an individual home 3) dam of water reservoirs at differing elevations that during day water is pumped up to upper reservoir and at night water released through power turbines from upper to lower reservoir to generate electricity (ie Wahiawa reservoir?). (3) appears the be most reasonable for Oahu and easiest to pass EIS. Just don't let guys like Pflueger and other developers mess with the dam structures.
on May 2,2014 | 11:36AM
Kukuinunu wrote:
The only modern dam on Oahu is at Hoomaluhia. Wahiawa and Nuuanu could work, but the dams would need to be rebuilt.
on May 2,2014 | 11:47AM
islandsun wrote:
HECO should be sued.....
on May 2,2014 | 01:29PM
goodday wrote:
you think you have a case?
on May 2,2014 | 04:20PM
Hotel wrote:
Think water reservoirs. Excess energy pumps water up, gravity does the rest. When needed. NOT a new idea.
on May 2,2014 | 02:49PM
localguy wrote:
No, goes back decades. Unfortunately totally useless in the Nei not enough large reservoirs to do the job. Wrong geography.
on May 2,2014 | 04:34PM
localguy wrote:
Over the past 45 years, mainland states supported massive energy conservation programs such as building codes upgraded to require home insulation, double pane windows, energy efficient design, installing LED streetlights, you name it. And the programs worked, energy consumption dropped. And in the Nei? Nothing of any real action. Bureaucrats and utility company didn't have a clue about energy conservation. Home insulation? Not needed in our tropical climate. Wrong answer. Now we are trying to play catch up. Reducing energy use is always the smarter approach to trying to make more. Sadly, the Nei hasn't got a clue, lost again, adrift in the ocean, no land in sight.
on May 2,2014 | 04:40PM
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