Hawaiian Electric Cos. Issue RFP for 900 MW Renewables

The request for proposals marks the largest single renewable energy procurements undertaken by a U.S. utility company.
Image via Pixabay

The Hawaiian Electric Cos. are accelerating the island’s renewable energy transition by issuing requests for proposals for renewable energy and grid services from developers across the world. The state will end this year achieving a renewable generation portfolio of 30 percent, moving closer to its goal of using 100 percent clean energy by 2045.


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The state seeks about 900 megawatts of new renewables and renewables paired with storage. This capacity is estimated to generate about two million megawatt-hours annually and marks the largest single renewable energy procurements undertaken by a U.S. utility company.

The breakdown comprises 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu, 135 megawatts for Maui and up to 203 megawatts for Hawaii Island. Projects for Maui must include energy storage, on Hawaii Island solar must include storage but is optional for other technologies, while on Oahu, pairing generation with storage is optional.

Oahu’s 180-megawatt coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in the Campbell Industrial Park—the largest single generator on the island, which meets 16 percent of peak demand—is scheduled to close by September 2022. For Maui, new renewable generation and storage is needed to replace the 212-megawatt Kahului Power Plant, scheduled for retirement by the end of 2024.

A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy sources will enable system operators to manage the reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs. Specifically, the companies are looking for fast frequency response and capacity for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii islands with targets ranging from 4MW to 119MW.

For Molokai, the Hawaii Electric Cos. will issue final requests for proposals later this year, for the equivalent of 4MW of solar or 3.6MW of small wind, paired with energy storage. For Lanai, the companies will issue requests for proposals for the equivalent of up to 9.5MW of solar paired with energy storage, pending approval by the Public Utilities Commission.

Following approvals and other factors, the Hawaii Electric Cos. expect the first renewable generation projects from this RFP to come online in 2022, with the total new capacity online by 2025. Grid services could begin coming online next year, with the total expected by 2022.

The first phase of the renewable procurement was completed in 2018 when the companies negotiated contracts for eight projects on three islands. The PUC approved seven projects on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island and will add approximately 260 megawatts of solar energy with more than one gigawatt-hours of storage by the end of 2021. One project is pending commission approval. The long-term prices negotiated for those projects average 9,38 cents per kilowatt-hour, well below the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour price of fossil fuel generation.