Four Renewable Energy Projects Slated for Maui

Hawaiian Electric will begin contract negotiations with developers of four renewable energy projects on Maui, that the company says “will further reduce Hawaii’s dependence of imported oil for power generation.”

In total, Hawaiian Electric will begin negotiations with developers of 15 renewable projects, with seven on Oahu and four on Hawaii island, the company said earlier this month. Estimated completion dates for the projects on the three islands range from 2026 to 2033.

On Maui, discussed will be three solar-plus-storage projects and one wind project totaling approximately 324 GWh of variable generation and 320 MWh of storage.

The announcement of new contract negotiations comes as last month Hawaiian Electric and developer Innergex Renewable Energy announced the termination of an agreement for a planned grid-scale solar and battery storage project in South Maui which was hit with lengthy delays from the developer’s legal challenges and pandemic related cost and supply-chain issues.

The project, Paeahu Solar, was first proposed in 2018 and “was a critical part of Hawaiian Electric’s plan to meet Maui’s energy needs with local, renewable resources at significantly lower cost than using imported fossil fuels to generate power,” Hawaiian Electric said in a news release in November.

The project’s planned 15-megawatt solar array and 60-megawatt-hour storage system on a 200-acre parcel leased from Ulupalakua Ranch near Maui Meadows would have powered about 6,900 homes per year with clean energy, the news release added.

“It’s unfortunate we aren’t able to move forward with Paeahu Solar, which was a key component of Hawaiian Electric’s effort to retire fossil generators on Maui, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize customer costs,” said Mike DeCaprio, vice president of power supply for Hawaiian Electric. “Maui is facing critical deadlines for bringing on new resources by the end of the decade and the loss of Paeahu and other projects is concerning.”

By 2028, Hawaiian Electric must retire its Kahului Power Plant to meet environmental regulations. The unavailability of replacement parts for units at the Ma’alaea Power Plant had also created uncertainty about its future past 2030, the company said.

As for the new proposed projects on Maui, they are:

• Kuihelani Phase 2 Solar, proposed by the AES Corp., it will be a solar and battery energy storage system with a capacity of 40 MW plus storage. It will be near Maalaea and expected completion is in 2027.

• Puu Hao Solar, also proposed by AES Corp., it will also be a solar and battery energy storage system with a capacity of 20 MW plus battery storage. It will be in Kihei and expected completion is in 2027.

• Kaheawa Wind I, proposed by Terraform US, it is a wind project with a capacity of 30 MW. It will be in Ukumehame and expected completion is in 2026.

• Pulehu Solar & Storage, proposed by Longroad Energy, it will be solar plus battery energy storage system and has a capacity of 20 MW plus battery storage. It will be in Pulehu and expected completion is in 2027.

With Hawaiian Electric entering contract negotiations with the developers, they will begin outreach to the communities where they plan to build.

For the first time, developers were required to submit community outreach and benefit plans that were evaluated along with technical and financial criteria, Hawaiian Electric said.

Developers also were required to set aside for community benefits a least $3,000 per megawatt of generation capacity annually. The funding will be used for actions and programs aimed at addressing specific needs identified by the host community.

Developers will provide an updated community outreach plan for the company’s review.

The projects selected are the result of a procurement effort that Hawaiian Electric began in May 2022 for Oahu and Maui and in November 2021 for Hawaii island.

Once the contracts between Hawaiian Electric and developers are finalized they will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for review and approval.

Source : Maui News


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