Hawaiian Electric this week selected 16 winning solar-storage and standalone battery projects totaling¬†460 megawatts of solar capacity and nearly 3 gigawatt-hours of storage¬†as the utility moves to close fossil fuel plants in the state.
Among the chosen developers are Canada’s Innergex Renewable Energy and Hawaiian Electric¬†itself. It’s the largest renewables procurement in Hawaii’s aggressive clean-energy development history¬†as the state moves toward a¬†100 percent clean energy by 2045 goal.¬†HECO is now in contract negotiations with the winning third-party developers.
HECO is the second utility to announce a multi-gigawatt-hour battery procurement this month alone, noted Daniel Finn-Foley, head of energy storage for Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. Earlier this month¬†Southern California Edison selected seven projects adding¬†up to 770 megawatts¬†of 4-hour-duration battery systems slated¬†to be completed by August 2021.¬†
‚ÄúThe utility energy storage market is blowing through milestones faster than we can report them,‚ÄĚ Finn-Foley said. ‚ÄúIn 2016 or 2017, a 30-megawatt system made news. In 2018 and 2019, procurements of hundreds of megawatts made way for gigawatt-hour-scale plans.‚ÄĚ¬†
This week’s announcement from HECO¬†is the latest step in a¬†request for proposals issued in August¬†aimed at securing a mix of generation and grid services for the islands of¬†Oahu,¬†Maui and Hawaii.
The¬†RFP comes with a far more complex set of requirements than the big renewable and storage procurements¬†announced elsewhere in the U.S.¬†in recent months, as well as the requirements of HECO’s own previous procurement of¬†262 megawatts of solar and 1,048 megawatt-hours of storage in early 2019.¬†
That‚Äôs because this RFP is meant to help HECO replace two central¬†power plants:¬†the 203-megawatt AES Hawaii coal-fired power plant on Oahu, set to close by 2022, and the 212-megawatt Kahului oil-fired power plant on Maui, set to close by 2024. To replace those¬†plants‚Äô roles in providing energy, capacity and grid stability,¬†HECO sought¬†a mix¬†of standalone energy storage available for round-the-clock grid capacity, and “dispatchable” renewable energy¬†power-purchase agreements.
The list of winners includes:
Two of the winning projects will be standalone battery systems¬†built by HECO itself¬†‚ÄĒ¬†a 40-megawatt/160-megawatt-hour system on Maui and a 12-megawatt/12-megawatt-hour system on Hawaii. They¬†were selected from five utility ‚Äúself-build‚ÄĚ projects that competed against third-party proposals, aimed at assuring that its need for¬†load-shifting and contingency services¬†would be in service earlier than the remaining combined solar-storage portions of its RFP.¬†
The 14 remaining projects will be built by third-party developers. HECO plans to announce the winning developers within 30 days¬†after giving them time to engage with local communities regarding their construction plans.¬†Renewable energy projects have faced¬†protests and legal challenges¬†in recent years, based on public opposition to their cost or their use of agricultural land.¬†
Canada’s Innergex announced¬†this week that two of its projects ‚ÄĒ¬†a 15-megawatt solar and 60-megawatt-hour battery system on Oahu, and a 20-megawatt solar and 80-megawatt-hour battery system on Maui ‚ÄĒ¬†are among the finalists.¬†
HECO has not yet revealed the pricing for the winning projects, which still need¬†approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.¬†¬†
HECO has also not yet announced the results of another portion of its RFP seeking¬†customer-based grid services, such as fast frequency response and capacity, utility spokesperson Peter Rosegg said in an¬†email. The utility is looking for such services on all three islands¬†in amounts ranging from 4 megawatts on Hawaii to nearly 120 megawatts on Oahu,¬†Rosegg said.
Those procurements are being guided by¬†HECO‚Äôs¬†Integrated Demand Response Portfolio¬†plan,¬†a long-running proceeding that seeks to create markets for demand-side resources to serve grid needs.¬†
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