Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hawaii power companies to deactivate oil plants, ramp up Renewables by 2016

After a year of research and deliberation, three major Hawaiian power companies are now putting up plan to deactivate a total of 226 MW of oil-fired generating units, convert remaining baseload plants to cycling duty, and substantially ramp up use of renewables by 2016.

Indeed a great move by the utility companies.

Renewable energy projects in Oahu, Hawaii. Image credit: UCS-USA

The Hawaiian Electric Companies serve 95% of the state's 1.2 million residents and in the next 5 years plan the followings:
  • To deactivate the Honolulu Power Plant and two of four units at Maui’s Kahului Power Plant by 2014, 
  • To deactivate two units at Oahu’s Waiau Power Plant by 2016,
  • Also includes Hawaii Island’s Shipman plant, which has already been deactivated and will be retired in 2014,
  • To fully retire all units at Kahului Power Plant by 2019. The oil-fired units make up 14% of the utility's owned generation.

Focus on renewable energies

The companies will instead accelerate development of utility-scale renewable energy projects, including solar and wind. Plans include:
  • Increasing the capability of utility grids to accept additional customer-sited renewable generation, especially roof-top photovoltaic systems, 
  • Developing smart grids for all three companies,
  • Installing smart meters for all customers in 2017–2018, 
  • Automating grids, and developing utility energy storage systems.

Hawaii's renewable portfolio standard requires that the companies meet 15% of net electricity sales with renewable power by 2015, 25% by 2020, and 40% by 2030.

The three companies met a record of 13.9% of generation with renewables in 2012 i.e., installing 111 MW of nameplate utility-scale wind that year. By the end of this year, the companies expect to meet 18% of generation with renewables.

Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) also plans to convert or replace generating units, which have not been deactivated, to use “cost-effective, cleaner fuels,” including renewable biomass or biofuel and liquefied natural gas.

Source: Power Magazine

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