Hawaii launches mega 900MW renewables tender

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Hawaii, photographed in October 2013. Source: Flickr / Brent

Hawaiian Electric Co (HECO) has kickstarted a colossal clean energy tender, seeking providers of 900MW worth of renewables and energy storage projects.

The tender launched on Monday is the largest renewables procurement ever issued in the state, with an estimated capacity of 2,000GWh annually.

The investor-owned utility is soliciting 594MW worth of solar for O'ahu island – together with 135MW for Maui and up to 203MW for Hawai'i – from local and global developers.

All renewables for Maui and Hawai'i must include energy storage, whereas on O'ahu, such partnerships remain optional.

Hawaii has pledged to be powered entirely by renewables by 2045. O’ahu’s 180MW AES coal-fired power plant, which meets 16% of peak power demand on the island, is due to close by September 2022. On Maui, the 27.6MW Kuhului oil-fired plant will be decommissioned in 2024.

Storage on O'ahu and Maui is also being sought to replace firm generating units, which can be provided by renewable generation paired with storage or standalone storage. Contingency storage is also being sought for O'ahu and Hawai'i islands.

Clean energy moves later this year for smaller islands

The winning projects are expected to be selected by May 2020 and come online between 2022 and 2025.

A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources on O'ahu, Maui, and Hawaii was also launched. The winning projects, which can range from 4-119MW, are expected to be awarded in January 2022 and come online by 2022 at the latest.

According to the HECO, Hawaii’s public utilities commission has engaged independent observers and technical advisers to ensure that all proposals are treated fairly and equitably “due to the complexity of projects sought.”

Later this year, HECO will issue requests for proposals for renewables for two of Hawaii’s smaller islands, pending approval by the state's public utilities commission. It will seek the equivalent of 4MW of solar-plus-storage or 3.6MW of wind-plus-storage for Moloka’i. The equivalent of around 9.5MW of solar-plus-storage will be pursued on Lana’i.

In the first phase of Hawaii’s renewables procurement in 2018, eight projects totalling 260MW/1GWh of solar-plus-storage were negotiated on O’ahu, Maui and Hawai’i. Prices arranged for those projects, which will come online by 2021, average 9.38 US dollar cents per kWh, lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 cents per kWh.

US solar prospects amid alliances with the energy storage sector will take centre stage at Solar Media's Solar & Storage Finance USA, to be held in New York on 29-30 October 2019

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