Hawaiian Electric to deploy 50,000 rooftop PV systems in bid to reach 2030 target

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Hawaiian Electric is aiming to reduce its emissions from power generation by 70%, based on 2005 levels, in the next nine years. Image: Hawaiian Electric via Twitter

Hawaiian Electric has said it will reduce its carbon emissions from power generation by 70% by 2030 in a plan that seeks to add 50,000 rooftop solar systems and 1GW of renewables to the utility’s generation capacity.

The reduction, based on 2005 levels, will cover power generated by Hawaiian Electric, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, and any independent power producers (IPPs) who sell it electricity.

The plan involves adding nearly 50,000 rooftop solar systems to the existing 90,000 strong stock, deploying 1GW of renewable capacity, including community-based solar generation, using more gird-scale and customer-owned energy storage and creating incentive programmes for customers to use more renewables.

Last month, Hawaiian Electric asked for proposals from resources including solar-plus-storage as part of its latest “all-source” renewables procurement round.

Its plan also entails shutting down the state’s last coal plant in 2022, retiring at least six fossil-fuelled generating units and expanding geothermal resources.

Hawaiian Electric president and CEO Scott Seu said that while the “2030 goal is a stretch”, it needed to commit to “bold actions in the next few years” to combat climate change.

Its forecast up to 2030 assumes a “steady pace of cost-effective renewable energy resources coming online”.

By 2030, Hawaiian Electric’s renewables portfolio standard is expected to exceed 70% of electricity generation, after which further renewables and energy storage are expected to help it reach its target of achieving net zero carbon emissions from power generation by 2045.

The reduction in emissions from electricity generation would still require the rest of the state economy – including transportation, agriculture, construction and industry – to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030 to stay aligned with the US’ nationwide targets.

“This is a bold goal for all of Hawai’i, not just Hawaiian Electric, but the good news is we’ve already made a strong start and this commitment moves us further on the path to sustainability,” said Shelee Kimura, senior vice president of customer service and public affairs who will become president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric on 1 January 2022.

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