Hawaii Electric advances major push for renewable energy

Hawaii solar. Photo by Reegan Mön

Hawaiian Electric has drafted requests for proposals (RFP) for potentially a broad array of renewable energy projects on Oʻahu and Maui that will enable the future retirement of generators that run on imported oil.

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“Hawaiian Electric is excited to embark on this next round of renewable energy procurements, which seeks to enhance grid reliability and address climate change,” said Rebecca Dayhuff Matsushima, vice president of resource procurement for Hawaiian Electric. “We look forward to working with the community, our regulators and stakeholders to further refine the RFPs as we work together to replace fossil-fueled generation.”

Once the draft is approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the company will seek proposals for a variety of renewable energy and capacity resources on Oʻahu and Maui that includes but is not limited to wind, solar, biomass and biofuels. The company will also accept proposals for standalone energy storage.

This draft RFP includes firm renewable capacity on both islands, which is a first.

For Oʻahu, Hawaiian Electric is seeking at least 475 GWh annually of variable renewable dispatchable energy to be in service by 2027. The company also wants 300-500 MW of renewable capacity to be available by 2029 and 200 MW to be available by 2033.

Maui is seeking at minimum 180 GWh of renewable dispatchable power annually and at least 40 MW renewable firm capacity to be available by 2027.

Hawaiian Electric will evaluate the proposals submitted in response to the O‘ahu and Maui RFPs to determine a final award group from which to begin contract negotiations.

In 2018, Hawaiian Electric began the first phase of Hawai‘i’s largest procurement effort for renewable energy resources to meet the state’s 100% renewable portfolio standard requirement.

The second phase of procurement was launched in 2019 and was the largest single procurement of renewable energy by a U.S. utility.

The first two phases of RFPs have resulted in nearly 600 MW of energy storage and 3 GWh per annum of energy storage. These are currently in development and will be ready for service in 2024.

This third stage of renewable energy procurement will open for bids from local and global energy developers once it has been approved by the PUC. The PUC approval is required before the first projects can be launched. This will happen no later than 2027.