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Hawaiian Electric makes push toward renewable energy

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“We’ve attempted to develop a competitive bidding plan that addresses concerns of all stakeholders while maintaining a fair process to reach our aggressive clean energy goals.”

Jim Alberts

Hawaiian Electric

The Hawaiian Electric Companies announced Wednesday its plans to put out requests for proposals for its largest and most ambitious push for renewable energy ever.

Hawaiian Electric is seeking new, clean energy projects to provide reliable service over the next five years following the expected closure of its largest fossil fuel plant on Oahu in 2022, and the retirement of its oldest, oil-fired plant on Maui in 2024.

“We’ve attempted to develop a competitive bidding plan that addresses concerns of all stakeholders while maintaining a fair process to reach our aggressive clean energy goals,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for business development and strategic planning, in a news release. “Among our guiding principles are that transparency, predictability and streamlining lowers costs to customers and that community engagement is essential to success.”

The second phase of renewable energy procurement will be open to bids from developers locally and globally, upon approval by the Public Utilities Commission, which is anticipated some time this summer. Pending PUC approval, the first projects would come online in 2022.

Estimated targets of new renewable generation of various technologies are the equivalent of 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu; 135 MW for Maui and 32 to 203 MW for Hawaii island, depending on whether other renewable energy projects become available.

Proposals for Molokai and Lanai will be sought later this summer.

The approximately 900 megawatts of new renewables sought are expected to generate about two million megawatt-hours annually, Hawaiian Electric said, and would be among the largest single procurement efforts ever undertaken by a U.S. utility.

Hawaiian Electric in this phase will seek bids for standalone storage and grid services that help system operators manage reliability of modern electric grids, in addition to variable renewable generation, with or without energy storage.

The draft proposals are viewable by clicking here.

On Oahu, the 180-MW, coal-fired AES Hawaii plant at Campbell Industrial Park is due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on Oahu, meeting 16% of peak demand. On Maui, the 38-MW Kahului Power Plant is set to retire by the end of 2024.

For Hawaii island, Hawaiian Electric is seeking additional renewable generation, even with the assumption that the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, which was knocked out by last year’s Kilauea eruption, returns to service, and the challenged, Hu Honua biomass plant, now Honua Ola Bioenergy, comes online.

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