29 planned renewable projects represent $3.5-$4 billion clean energy investment in Hawaii

Jobs, revenue can contribute to state’s economic recovery

Release Date: 7/1/2020

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HONOLULU, July 1, 2020 – The 29 grid-scale renewable energy projects planned or under construction on four islands represent between $3.5 billion and $4 billion in investment in Hawaii’s clean energy economy, according to an estimate by Hawaiian Electric.

In addition, more than 3,000 private rooftop solar projects have been interconnected so far in 2020. On Oahu, that represents more than $65 million in businesses’ and homeowners’ investments in clean energy that will offset their electric bills and contribute to the state’s renewable energy goals.

The number of projects in progress – 14 on Oahu, 8 on Hawaii Island and 7 in Maui County – is unprecedented in Hawaii. All but three would be built, owned and operated by independent power producers who will sell their electricity to Hawaiian Electric.

These projects, along with the continued expansion of private rooftop solar, have the potential to move Hawaiian Electric to a renewable portfolio standard of more than 60 percent by the end of 2025, up from about 28 percent today. That would include being nearly 90 percent renewable in Maui County and nearly 100 percent on Hawaii Island.

In addition to reducing the state’s dependence on imported fuels for power generation, these projects also create construction and technical jobs, draw upon goods and services from local businesses, provide lease payments to local landowners and government agencies and generate tax revenue.

The projects are listed on Hawaiian Electric’s Renewable Energy Project Status Board. While some are under construction, the majority are awaiting regulatory or governmental approval or are in the final stages of contract negotiations with Hawaiian Electric. The count doesn’t include projects already in operation.

"From the installation of one rooftop solar system to building a project that provides power to the grid, the clean energy industry is providing jobs and revenue at a time when Hawaii is working to get back on its feet economically," said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of business development and strategic planning for Hawaiian Electric. "By maintaining the momentum, we can support economic recovery and make a lot of progress toward our goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2045."

By working with a broad range of groups representing the solar industry, electrification of transportation, economic development and government agencies including the Public Utilities Commission, Consumer Advocate and the Hawaii State Energy Office, Hawaiian Electric is committed to maintaining the pace of progress in renewable energy as an important component of the state's economic recovery.

Community involvement is key to the success of these projects. The most recent group of projects announced by developers have started or will soon start community outreach, either in person or virtually, to provide information and accept feedback.

"We hope people will take the time to learn about these projects and participate in the meetings," Alberts said. "If there are questions or concerns, the developers can address them early and stay on the path to completion, which will benefit everyone in the community."

A list of the projects and links for information are available at the Hawaii State Energy Office https://energy.hawaii.gov/hawaiian-electric-phase2 and on the Hawaiian Electric Renewable Project Status Board at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii/our-clean-energy-portfolio/renewable-project-status-board.

A number of projects are expected to come online this year, though some are still awaiting final regulatory and governmental approvals. They include: Honua Ola, a 21.5 megawatt biomass plant on Hawaii Island; Na Pua Makani, a 24 megawatt wind project on Oahu; Mauka FIT 1, a 3.5 MW solar project on Oahu. In addition, the 38-MW Puna Geothermal Venture on Hawaii Island is expected to return to service this year after completing repairs to damage caused by the 2018 volcanic eruption.