Hawaiian Electric seeks onshore wind farm developers on Oahu

Release Date: 1/5/2017

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HONOLULU, Jan. 5, 2017 – To potentially save money for its customers, Hawaiian Electric Company wants to determine if there are independent developers capable of building utility-scale onshore wind projects on Oahu that would be able to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit for wind power that expires in 2019.

Hawaiian Electric is committed to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 while keeping electric rates as low as possible. Onshore wind projects able to capture the expiring federal investment tax credits for large wind are of interest because they can help reach those goals. The federal investment tax credit for large wind is scheduled to decrease as follows: 24 percent in 2017, 18 percent in 2018, and ending at 12 percent in 2019.

“The potential capacity for additional wind power on Oahu is limited and land costs on this island are significant contributors of renewable projects pricing, so we believe it is important to identify ‘shovel-ready’ projects that can take advantage of the federal tax credits as the cost of such projects will likely be higher in the future,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for Corporate Planning and Business Development.

Interested parties who are capable of building onshore grid-scale wind projects on Oahu are asked to respond with an “expression of interest” no later than Jan. 31, 2017. Information from the responses may assist in the development and issuance of a more formal request for proposals within a competitive bidding process or the issuance of an alternative means of procurement, subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC.)

The criteria Hawaiian Electric is looking for includes:

  • Projects would need a capacity of five megawatts or more at a total price per kilowatt hour that offers attractive savings for Hawaiian Electric customers.
  • Developers must have experience with a similar project and demonstrate they can reasonably attain a commercial operation no later than the end of 2022.
  • Developers should submit plans for, and evidence of any community relations outreach to be done during development and through the term of a purchase power agreement and information on any environmental benefits in addition renewable energy generation of the proposed project.

An expression of interest is only an opportunity for developers to state their interest to Hawaiian Electric. Hawaiian Electric is under no obligation to move forward with any project and any future project would be subject to approval by the PUC and all other required permits and approvals. Individuals or community organizations wishing to comment on the expression of interest process may do so via email to windeoi@hawaiianelectric.com. All emails will be reviewed and receive responses.