Hawaiian Electric seeks approval to develop solar project in Hawaii

Hawaiian Electric Company asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for approval to develop a 20MW solar energy facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, West Loch Annex.

If approved, it would be the lowest cost renewable energy project in the state.

Energy produced by this project would cost 9.54 cents per kilowatt-hour. The low cost energy from the West Loch system is expected to save customers $109 million over its expected 25-year lifespan, compared with the cost of using oil to generate that energy.

The $67 million project is a joint effort with the Department of the Navy. Hawaiian Electric proposes to build, own and operate the solar facility at the joint base. In exchange for the land needed for the project, the base will receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades to Navy-owned facilities. The renewable energy generated by the solar facility will feed into the island’s electric grid and serve all customers on Oahu, including those on the base.

If approved, construction is expected to begin in January 2018, with the project in service by December 2018. The project was commemorated in July by Hawaiian Electric, the Navy, and the state with a celebratory lease signing at Pearl Harbor.

“Thanks to the support provided by the Navy, this is a win-win for our entire community. It will save money for our customers, help the Navy achieve its renewable energy goals, and get our state closer to 100 percent renewable energy at a reasonable cost,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are national leaders in the integration of renewable energy on their island grids, using renewables to generate more than 23 percent of their electricity in 2015. Other significant projects that have been launched or are underway include:

-A 1-MW battery energy storage system at Campbell Industrial Park

-The 27.6-MW Waianae Solar project, the largest in Hawaii, developed by Eurus Energy

-More than 60 additional utility-scale solar projects across Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island with a combined capacity of nearly 40 megawatts

-The 24-MW Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku

-The new 50-MW biofuel-capable Schofield Generation Station, part of Hawaiian Electric’s ongoing energy collaboration with the U.S. Army

-Ongoing approvals of rooftop PV system, including a new wave of systems incorporating energy storage. To date, more than 78,000 rooftop PV systems have approved

-The 8-MW Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility

-Two 2.87-MW solar farms on Maui being developed by Kuia Solar and South Maui Renewable Resources