Latest round of Hawaiian Electric clean energy procurement includes bids for firm generation to boost grid reliability

15 Proposed projects will make it easier to retire older fossil fuel generators

Release Date: 12/8/2023

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HONOLULU, Dec. 8, 2023 – Hawaiian Electric will begin contract negotiations with the developers of 15 renewable energy projects on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui that will further reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported oil for power generation. Several of the projects on Oahu and Hawaii island utilize firm renewable generation that can produce clean electricity when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.

The projects, seven on Oahu, four on Hawaii Island, and four on Maui, are part of Hawaiian Electric's latest phase of renewable energy procurements. The negotiations are expected to produce long-term contracts for approximately 517 megawatts (MW) of variable generation, 654 MW of firm generation, and 2.1 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of storage. The proposals employ a variety of renewable energy resources and project design types. Estimated completion dates for the projects range from 2026 to 2033.

The projects include:

  • Oahu: Three solar-plus-storage projects and four firm (biofuel) projects totaling 413 GWh of variable generation, 594 MW of firm generation, and 990 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage.
  • Maui: Three solar-plus-storage projects and one wind project totaling approximately 324 GWh of variable generation, and 320 MWh of storage.
  • Hawaii Island: Three solar-plus-storage projects and one firm (biofuel) project totaling 512 GWh of variable generation, 60 MW of firm generation, and 834 MWh of storage.

“These projects will help move Hawaii closer to its clean energy goals, while adding critical grid reliability with firm renewable energy,” said Rebecca Dayhuff Matsushima, vice president of Resource Procurement for Hawaiian Electric. “Adding energy storage and generation from firm renewables to our portfolio will make it easier for Hawaiian Electric to retire older, less flexible fossil fuel-fired plants.”

Proposals for firm renewable capacity on Maui are being handled separately, with final selection set for January 2024. Firm renewable energy differs from variable resources such as solar and wind, in that it is available at all times. While previous solicitations have focused on variable resources, procurement of firm generation seeks to broaden the future generation mix to ensure the islands have a diverse portfolio of generation resources.

In addition to proposals featuring firm renewable generation, Hawaiian Electric accepted bids for projects with variable renewable dispatchable energy. Dispatchable means the company controls when the resource is used. An example is a solar facility with a battery that stores energy that can be dispatched to the grid as needed.

Hawaiian Electric will now enter contract negotiations with the developers, who 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. Developers also were required to set aside for community benefits at 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 updated community outreach plans will be made public on each developer’s website.

Once the contracts between Hawaiian Electric and the developers are finalized, they will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review and approval. At the time, more details on price and bill impact will be made public. The process for selecting bid finalists was overseen by an Independent Observer and Independent Engineer, selected by the PUC to ensure that all proposals – including projects proposed by Hawaiian Electric – were reviewed fairly and objectively.

On Oahu, the Waiau Repower project and the Kalaeloa Partners project aim to transform existing facilities that use imported fossil fuels into facilities that run on biofuels. The Waiau project, proposed by Hawaiian Electric at the site of its existing 85-year-old facility in Pearl City, could potentially use renewable gas or hydrogen when it becomes commercially available. On Hawaii Island, the Hamakua Firm Renewable project would also transition the existing dual-fuel plant to 100% biofuel.

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. For a list of the projects and links to each project website, please see the Renewable Project Status Board page:

Project name Island Developer Technology Size
Puuloa Energy Oahu Ameresco Internal combustion engines (biofuel) 99 MW
Puuloa Solar Oahu Ameresco Solar + BESS 6 MW + BESS
Base Proposal Oahu Kalaeloa Partners LP Combustion turbine (biofuel) 208 MW
Waiau Repower Oahu Hawaiian Electric Combustion turbine (biofuel) 253 MW
Mahi Solar and Storage Oahu Longroad Development Solar + BESS 120 MW + BESS
Makana La Oahu Clearway Energy Group Solar + BESS 80 MW + BESS
Par Hawaii Renewable Combined Heat & Power Oahu Par Hawaii Refining Combined heat & power (biofuel) 33.9 MW
Kuihelani Phase 2 Solar Maui AES Corp. Solar + BESS 40 MW + BESS
Puu Hao Solar Maui AES Corp. Solar + BESS 20 MW + BESS
Kaheawa Wind 1 Maui Terraform US Wind 30 MW
Pulehu Solar & Storage Maui Longroad Energy Solar + BESS 20 MW + BESS
Keamuku Solar Hawaii Island AES Corp. Solar + BESS 86 MW + BESS
Puako Solar Hawaii Island Clearway Energy Group Solar + BESS 60 MW + BESS
Kaiwiki Solar Hawaii Island Clearway Energy Group Solar + BESS 55 MW + BESS
Hamakua Firm Renewable Energy Hawaii Island Pacific Current Combined Cycle (biofuel) + BESS 60 MW + BESS