Regulator Hawaiin Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a large-scale standalone battery storage project in the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Though it has been approved with a lot of conditions attached. The storage project will be designed to help overcome energy reliability and supply concerns as a coal power plant retires.
This power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed in September 2020 by the state’s main utility, Hawaiian Electric, for energy dispatched from Kapolei Energy Storage I, a 185MW / 565MWh battery facility under development by Plus Power. This project is Plus Power’s one of 16 solar-plus-storage and standalone storage projects proposals awarded contracts by Hawaiian Electric in a competitive solicitation process that went on considerably longer than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The utility contracted for a total of 460MW of solar and 3GWh of energy storage across the state’s main islands.
Some conditions which have been applied on the approval are that removing certain performance-based incentives payable to the utility worth about US$6.5 million and making Hawaiian Electric take steps to encourage the deployment of more community-based renewable energy (CBRE) capacity on the island, while also telling Hawaiian Electric to remove a requirement for CBRE facilities to deploy energy storage in combination with renewables, since the CBRE’s could be used to charge the 585MWh battery system instead. The PUC has also encouraged that rooftop solar could be sending power to the battery.
This particular battery project is scheduled to go online at an Oahu substation by June 2022. There are four other large-scale solar-plus-storage projects on the island which have estimated commissioning dates between September of next year and August 2023.