HE files plan showing faster route to 100% renewables than current Hawaiian mandates

Written By: Stratton Report
December 23, 2016


On December 23, the Hawaiian Electric Companies announced its plan which the company describes as leading to a 100% renewable resource future by 2045.

Per the utility, the updated plan describes faster expansion of the companies’ renewable energy portfolio than in the plan filed in April 2016 and HE emphasized that work that is in progress or planned over the next five years on each of the five islands the Hawaiian Electric Companies serve.

HE forecasted that they will exceed the state’s renewable energy milestones in 2020 with renewables accounting for 48 percent by the end of 2020 (the mandated goal is 30 percent); at least 72 percent by the end of 2030 (the mandated goal is 40 percent); and at least 100 percent by the end of 2040 (the mandated goal is 70 percent.)

The HE plan estimates that the RPS after 2030 could exceed 100 percent when taking into account customers’ generation of electricity for their own use as well as the anticipated widespread use of battery storage.

Per the utility, the renewable impact will vary geographically, with a proposed mix of solar, wind, battery storage and biofuels, to achieve an RPS of 100 percent on Moloka’i by 2020, while Hawai’i Island is forecast to reach an RPS of 80 percent, Maui 63 percent, Lānaʻi 59 percent and O’ahu 40 percent

The HE plan assumes continued growth of private rooftop solar and describes the work to expand and upgrade grid infrastructure and to use the newest generations of inverters, control systems and energy storage to help reliably integrate an estimated total of 165,000 private systems by 2030, more than double today’s total of 79,000.

Hawaiian Electric stressed that it already has the highest percentage of customers using rooftop solar of any utility in the U.S. and customer-sited storage is seen as a key contributor to the growth of the renewable portfolio on every island.

In addition, the plan forecasts the addition of 360 megawatts of grid-scale solar, 157 megawatts of grid-scale wind and 115 megawatts from programs known as Demand Response, which can shift customer use of electricity to times when more renewable energy is available, potentially making room to add even more renewable resources.

HE’s plan also assumes a growing electrification of transportation, reducing the use of fossil fuels for ground transportation, foreseeing charging electric vehicles during the day when renewable energy is abundant.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies noted that it is working with land owners and developers, to explore options including pumped storage hydropower, run-of-the-river hydropower, hydrogen and wave energy as potential additions. As part of this ongoing exploration, the companies recently issued a Request for Information to land owners who may be interested in teaming with a developer to host a renewable energy project.

Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO noted:

“We have a solid plan that accelerates our progress to get to 100 percent renewable energy. We can do this. 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.”