©Luca Bravo -Unsplash Maui, Hawaii
Hawaiian Electric (HECO) has raised the stakes in its goal to go 100% renewable, bringing forward by five years its target to be free of fossil fuels to 2045.
To accelerate its Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP), the company will add an additional 360MW of utility-scale solar PV and 157MW of wind while it will achieve a 115MW saving from demand response by 2040. HECO, which aims to provide 48% renewable power already by 2020, is looking to resource demand management, energy storage and biofuels to break free from fossil fuels.
The new plan has come in the wake of a decision by the island’s energy authority to reject a $4.3 billion bid to buy HECO, a transaction that hinged on the construction of a terminal for importing liquefied natural gas to the Pacific islands. The regulator determined that the takeover of HECO was not in the public interest with respect to five areas – one of which was clean energy commitments.
Rooftop solar is a key component in the accelerated plan, with an estimated 165,000 home solar systems forecasted to be connected to the grid by 2030, more than doubling the current 79,000 systems installed. To get the ball rolling, the utility recently issued a request for information (RFI) to start the development conversation with developers.