Hawaiian Electric, Innergex end contract for planned grid-scale solar, battery storage in South Maui

Of 5 solar projects approved on Maui since 2018, only 1 is being built

Release Date: 11/28/2023

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KAHULUI, Nov. 28, 2023 – Hawaiian Electric and developer Innergex Renewable Energy have terminated an agreement for a planned grid-scale solar and battery storage project in South Maui hit with lengthy delays resulting 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. Of five solar and energy storage projects approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Maui over the past five years, only one is being built, the AES Corp.’s 60-megawatt Kuihelani project. Four power purchase agreements, including the one for Paeahu Solar, have been terminated.

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

“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 fuel 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 Maalaea Power Plant has also created uncertainty about its future past 2030.

“Innergex is grateful to the many residents, partners, businesses, and community organizations who supported our efforts to bring new solar power resources to Maui,” said Ed Maddox, Senior Director-Development at Innergex. ”Innergex continues to pursue opportunities to add this and other renewable energy projects to the grid in Hawaii.”