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Hawaiian Electric Companies issue call for projects to accelerate islands' renewable energy transition

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Energy Global,

The Hawaiian Electric Companies, subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. are beginning the largest procurement effort for renewable energy resources in Hawai'i, US.

The aim is to end the use of coal and reduce reliance on imported oil for power generation in order to move the state closer to its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2045.

With the approval of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have issued requests for proposals for renewable energy and grid services from developers locally and globally. Details are at

Approximately 900 MW of new renewables or renewables paired with storage -- generating about 2 million MWh annually -- are sought. This includes estimated targets of technologies equal to 594 MW of solar for O'ahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawai'i Island.

Projects for Maui must include energy storage. On Hawai'i Island, solar must include storage but is optional for other technologies. On O'ahu, pairing generation with energy storage is optional. Storage on O'ahu and Maui is also being sought to replace firm generating units. This 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.

For O'ahu, new renewable generation and storage is needed to replace the 180 MW coal-fired AES Hawaii Power Plant in Campbell Industrial Park due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on O'ahu, meeting 16% of peak demand.

For Maui, new renewable generation and storage is needed for the planned retirement of the Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.

A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will help system operators manage the reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs. The companies are seeking grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for O'ahu, Maui, and Hawai'i islands with targets ranging from 4 MW to 119 MW. This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernising the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy.

Final requests for proposals are expected to be issued later this year for the equivalent of 4 MW of solar or 3.6 MW of small wind for Moloka'i, paired with energy storage, and an equivalent up to 9.5 MW of solar paired with energy storage for Lana'i, pending approval by the PUC.

Due to the complexity of projects sought, the PUC has chosen independent observers and a technical adviser to assure that all proposals -- including 'self-build' projects proposed by the companies -- are treated fairly and equitably and will not interact to create technical problems on island grids.

These final requests for proposals are the result of extensive collaboration led by the PUC with participation of Hawaiian Electric, the Consumer Advocate, and other stakeholders.

Hawaiian Electric's guiding principles in seeking renewable energy and grid services include transparency, predictability and streamlining to lower costs for customers, with community engagement essential to success.

In the first phase of the renewable procurement, completed in 2018, the companies negotiated contracts for eight projects on three islands. The PUC approved seven projects on O'ahu, Maui and Hawai'i Island that will add approximately 260 MW of solar energy with over 1 GWh of storage by the end of 2021. One project is pending commission approval.

The stable, long-term prices negotiated for these projects average 9.38 cents per KWh and are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 cents per KWh. These low prices reflect Hawaiian Electric's innovative, new model contract that enables the Company to dispatch energy from each facility to meet the needs of the grid.

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