Hawaii Electric Companies (HECO) introduced a new energy plan for the near future and it’s big on renewables—so much so that 48 percent of its electric generation will come from renewables by 2020. The ambitious plan projects that HECO will generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040 and complete its obligation to a state mandate 5 years ahead of a state mandate.
"We have a solid plan that accelerates our progress to get to 100 percent renewable energy. We can do this," said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. "We want to work with parties from all segments of our community—government, business, community, and environmental groups—to refine the plans for Hawaii's energy future."
The plan forecasts the addition of 360 megawatts of utility-scale solar and 157 megawatts of wind power. The plan also calls for 115 megawatts of Demand Response capacity through various means. Such systems and tools allow customers to shift their use of electricity to hours when more energy is available on the grid.
Using a combination of solar, wind, battery storage and biofuels, the utility estimates that it will reach 48 percent renewable energy use by 2020 and at least 72 percent in 2030. Some islands will reach the goal of 100 percent even earlier. For instance, Moloka’i should reach total renewable energy by 2020. In fact, considering rooftop solar and energy storage, HECO could actually exceed 100 percent of its energy generation from renewables.
HECO’s plan lays out anticipated growth in the private rooftop solar market, as well as updates to grid infrastructure including implementation of a new generation of power inverters, energy control capabilities and energy storage systems. With 79,000 rooftop solar customers already, putting it among the highest concentration of rooftop solar installations in the US, HECO’s plan to modernize grid infrastructure could eventually double its rooftop solar customers to 165,000 by 2030.
Like other US states, Hawaii has had to contend with utilities' desire to end net metering, but HECO still wants more rooftop solar. Previously, HECO proposed to decrease rooftop solar customer compensation rates and raise installation fees for potential solar customers while at the same time announcing plans to triple rooftop solar service in major Hawaiian markets.Tweet