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Hawaiian Electric opens RfP for 900 MW of renewables, storage

One of Hawaii's existing solar power plants. Author: Official US Navy Page. License: Creative Commons: Attribution 2.0 Generic

August 27 (Renewables Now) - The Hawaiian Electric Companies (HEC) on Monday issued requests for proposals (RfPs) for about 900 MW of renewable energy and energy storage projects, aiming to end the use of coal across the US islands and meet the state’s 100% renewables goal by 2045.

Pending the approval of the Public Utilities Commission, the utility seeks resources to generate about 2 million MWh of electricity per year. The targeted technologies in the RfPs are equal to 594 MW of solar for Oahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawaii Island, "depending on whether other renewable energy projects are available on that island."

On Oahu, HECO needs to replace a 180-MW coal-fired power plant that will be shut down by September 2022, whereas the new generation on Maui will compensate for the retirement of the oil-fired Kahului Power Plant, due by end-2024. Meanwhile, grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will be needed to manage the grid’s reliability. For that purpose, HECO will issue a separate RfP for O'ahu, Maui and Hawaii.

The following table gives more details about the RfPs timeline.

  Renewables RfP Grid services projects RfP
Final RFP issued August 22, 2019 August 22, 2019
Proposals due date  November 5, 2019 October 31, 2019
Companies select priority list January 17, 2020 December 12, 2019
Best and final offers deadline January 24, 2020 December 19, 2019
Final award group named May 8, 2020 January 9, 2020
Contract negotiations begin May 15, 2020 January 9, 2020

Battery storage is optional for projects on Oahu, but is mandatory for projects on Maui. On Hawaii Island, solar projects must include storage but it is optional for other technologies.

Depending on approvals and other factors, HECO expects the first renewable energy projects resulting from the RfPs to come online in 2022, with the total capacity will be switched on by 2025. Grid services projects are anticipated to be completed by 2022.

According to HECO, this is among the largest renewable energy solicitations by a US utility. "Hawaiian Electric has made huge strides toward our renewable energy goals and will end this year achieving a renewable generation portfolio of 30%," said Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric.

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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