As part of a request for proposal for approximately 900 megawatts of new renewables or renewables paired with storage launched in 2019 by the Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries, Innergex is pleased to propose the Barbers Point Solar Project to the Oahu community.
This project combines 15 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity capacity with 15 MW, 4-hour (60 MWh) of battery energy storage on land owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. The project would power approximately 6,200 Oahu households with clean, renewable energy.
To power the island of Oahu with clean and renewable solar energy, a solar field would be built with arrays of photovoltaic panels arranged in rows. The solar array would charge the battery during the day to provide electricity whenever it is needed most, day or night.
A solar project of this nature also requires the following components: the solar photovoltaic system, a network of electrical collector lines, battery energy storage and inverter units, step-up transformers, a collector substation and transformer, an overhead generation-tie line, internal access roads, and temporary laydown (i.e. staging) areas for construction.
The Barbers Point Solar Project must be connected to the grid to supply the community with the needed power. An interconnection route would be built and consist of an overhead transmission line that would extend from the Project switchyard approximately 0.25-miles northeast from the solar array to connect into the Hawaiian Electric grid.
The solar array and associated infrastructure would occupy approximately 100 acres.
About Solar and Battery Storage Systems
The sun is a highly stable and predictable resource, which makes solar technology correspondingly reliable and easy to use. The sun’s energy is converted directly into electricity by a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel, named after the “photovoltaic” phenomenon, where light energy, in the form of photons, can be converted to electricity using certain materials that naturally generate a flow of electrons when exposed to light. As this process requires no fuel, it creates no emissions during operations. As a result, solar energy is one of the cleanest, most reliable forms of energy around.
The effectiveness of a solar energy system depends on a number of factors: the number of hours of sunshine, the season, weather conditions, albedo (the reflecting power of the surrounding surface), etc. Solar panels are always tilted and oriented to capture the maximum amount of light.
Battery storage works by storing the energy produced by solar panels during the day. The higher the battery’s capacity, the more solar energy it can store. The energy in the battery storage can be used whenever it is needed most, day or night.
At the end of its operational life, the equipment will be recycled and the land the project occupies will be returned to its original state.
Environmental, Archaeological and Cultural
Our passion to produce renewable energy stems from our profound belief that we can all make a difference in making the world a better place for future generations. At Innergex, environmental sustainability is a key part of our development strategy. We are driven by the belief that what we do matters as much as how we do it by developing projects that avoid, minimize, mitigate or offset the impacts on the surrounding area.
Innergex takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and our facilities are developed and operated with strict adherence to environmental codes and best practices. This commitment explains why we conduct multiple surveys and studies of the surrounding environment in preparation for developing a project and we continue those efforts throughout the lifetime of the facility. We do so while abiding by all County, State and Federal regulations that apply to a project of this nature.
A Preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) was conducted in late 2019, which provides a high-level review of pre-existing environmental conditions, and potential short- and long-term impacts associated with the proposed Project in a variety of environmental areas, including: air quality, wildlife, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, natural hazards, noise, traffic, socio-economic characteristics, visual impacts, hazardous waste, water quality, public safety, and recreation.
The Preliminary EA identifies areas in which further study is required and will form the basis of our environmental program going forward. These studies will include general and detailed plant and wildlife surveys, wetland and waterways assessments, archaeological and cultural impact assessments, visual impact and glare analyses, and traffic and noise studies.
For the regulatory and permitting processes, independent third-party qualified professionals will conduct these studies and prepare the reports that will be submitted for regulatory review and approval. Once available, the results will be shared with the community at future public meetings.
Based on the existing information available, the following permits will likely be required to construct and operate the Project. Through engagement with regulatory agencies and officials and various studies and analyses, the list will be refined as needed.
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review (if Navy lands are used for access or transmission);
- Including Section 106 Compliance and Coastal Zone Management (CZM) federal consistency concurrence.
- Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) environmental review under HRS Chapter 343;
- Community Development District (CDD) / Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) Development Permit (Parcels 38A, 38B, and 40);
- CDD/HCDA Conditional Use Permit (Parcel 38A);
- Hawaii Revised Statute (HRS) Chapter 6 E compliance, including State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) review and approval of Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS);
- CWA §402 National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) General Stormwater Permit from Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH);
- Federal Aviation Administration Determination of No Hazard;
- Construction Noise Permit from HDOH;
- Easement for Use of Coral Sea Road Right-of-Way;
- Grading, grubbing, building, and electrical permits from Honolulu County.
Previous archaeological investigations have been undertaken in the Project area beginning in 1991 as part of larger studies associated with former U.S. Navy actions. Previous studies identified five known archaeological sites within the Project area parcels. These sites include habitation and agricultural complexes that include rock walls, modified and unmodified sinkholes, stone enclosures, a homestead, and military-associated features. No known burials have been previously found within the Project area.
Once the Project area boundary is finalized (which will include all Project activities that may require ground disturbance), an archaeological consultant will initiate consultation with SHPD and will complete a supplemental archaeological investigation survey (AIS) of the Project area. The AIS will include a comprehensive field study documenting all of the extant archaeological features within the Project area and reassess the significance of such resources, as well as new treatment recommendations for all of the documented sites.
As part of the archaeological resource support, the archaeological consultant will also determine the presence or absence of cultural practices or traditionally-significant cultural places within the Project area and vicinity. Background research and (if appropriate) ethnographic interviews with knowledgeable native Hawaiians will be conducted to determine if there are any known significant sites in or near the Project area. If cultural practices or traditionally-significant cultural places are identified within the Project area or within the vicinity of the Project, Innergex will work with the archaeological consultants to assess potential Project impact to these sites and associated avoidance or mitigation measures. This will be detailed in a Cultural Impact Assessment.
Community and Potential Benefits
Innergex’s philosophy has always been to develop and operate reliable, high-quality projects while respecting the environment and balancing the best interests of host communities and partners. When developing a renewable energy project, Innergex has a successful track record of generating local benefits that go back into a community.
Construction and operation phases will create benefits in terms of new employment opportunities, as well as the use of local resources. Preference would be given to retaining local persons, consultants, businesses and contractors throughout the development of the project.
Innergex believes that communities must benefit from a renewable energy project in their area and as such we have a long history of sponsoring and supporting local associations, legacy projects and community events in the communities where we operate.
We are guided by our philosophy of supporting sustainable growth that creates a balanced relationship between people, our planet and prosperity. Investing in people and caring for our planet, while sharing economic benefits with local communities and creating shareholder value, have always been at the heart of our development strategy.
A project that will bring many benefits to the surrounding communities
In its approach that balances People, our Planet and shared Prosperity, Innergex aims to build long-term, high-quality projects that not only benefit the planet, but also have a positive economic impact on the surrounding communities and contribute to their economic development.
Innergex is committed to applying its expertise, resources, and dedication to the good of the planet in actively addressing Oahu’s unique challenges.
“KCDC supports the solar project at Kalaeloa, because it aligns with DHHL’s guiding documents but more importantly because this project provides DHHL, its beneficiaries, KCDC and the Kapolei homesteads with the resources for a sustainable future.” Scott A. Abrigo – President of Kapolei Community Development Corporation
The Barbers Point Solar Project will contribute to DHHL & Oahu’s renewable energy goals as called out in the DHHL 2014 Oahu Island Plan and the Island of Oahu’s Oahu General Plan and potentially offer benefits including:
- Lower Cost, More Equitable, Stable-Priced Energy Feeding the Grid. Early community feedback from residents emphasized that the cost of electricity is a prevalent concern. Projects like the Barbers Point Solar Project are intended to contribute to lowering electricity bills over the long term. The proposed price is less than Hawaiian Electric’s current cost of generating power with fossil fuel and the price Innergex would charge per kWh will be set for 25 years.
- Battery Energy Storage Systems Can Reduce Curtailment. The recently-publicized curtailment of other wind and solar projects has been viewed by residents as a waste of energy generation—and investment—by the utility. These concerns underscore the importance of battery storage for projects like the Barbers Point Solar Project in reducing curtailment. The stored power can be dispatched in the evening—when rooftop solar is not available—to help meet demands of residents returning home to deal with dinner, baths, washing, and other tasks or during emergencies.
- Experience and Capacity. As a mature and experienced global company, Innergex brings necessary resources, capital, and expertise in the field of renewable solar energy. In addition, Innergex has a track record of working with indigenous and multi-cultural communities and shaping a win-win outcome with them. As captured in its core values, Innergex engages with a community, not as a developer, but as a long-term community partner for the life of the project.
- An Opportunity for Workforce and Local Business. Throughout the life of the project, Innergex commits to using the local workforce and local companies wherever feasible, maximizing the investment in Oahu. These opportunities provide invaluable experiences for workers and companies in an ever-expanding energy sector in Hawaii.
- A Clean Power Future with Less Vulnerability. A great deal of concern exists among residents regarding Oahu’s vulnerability to external threats because of its reliance on imported fuel. Harsh memories of shipping strikes, world oil prices, and geo-political forces stoke fears of the disruption these events could again cause to daily lives. Knowing that the sun is a readily-available, reliable resource, Oahu residents are supportive of the utility harnessing a renewable resource to improve the island’s energy stability and grid resiliency.
- Project Location. The Project is sited in a relatively remote and industrial area that has already been determined by HECO to be a prime site for energy generation. The Project is located in an area of Kalaeloa that is not immediately adjacent to any existing or planned residential communities.
- Compatible Land Use. The Project is compatible with all zoning and land use classifications, including Kalaeloa Community Development District / Hawaii Community Development Authority rules and standards. DHHL lands in Kalaeloa, Oahu were deemed not suitable for homesteading due to their proximity to a nearby airport as well as their remote locations, physical characteristics, and lack of infrastructure for residential development. While all DHHL lands in Kalaeloa are zoned for Industrial use, several parcels were designated for renewable energy production in 2014 through the Department’s beneficiary consultation process and in accordance with DHHL’s 2009 Ho’omaluō energy policy.
- Ideal for a Renewable Energy Project. It was also determined that the highest and best use of these available lands would be in the renewable energy category as a result of limiting issues relating to land tenure, presence of historical structures, and topography. The area’s terrain is considered karst which is characterized by porous and permeable coralline limestone reef deposit, making much of DHHL’s Kalaeloa land susceptible to sink holes and therefore more appropriate for low-intensity industrial use. Revenues developed from industrial leasing of these available lands are used by DHHL to develop new homesteads in suitable residential areas throughout the state.
- Dedicated Funding to the Kapolei Community Heritage Center (KCHC). In addition to the General Lease terms, Innergex has also committed dedicated annual funding (1% of the actual gross project revenues of the project) for the Kapolei Community Heritage Center during operations. The benefit of working with the KCHC is that its membership includes the homesteader associations in the Kapolei/Kalaeloa area, including the Malu’ohai, Kaupe’a, Kanehili and Kauluokaha’i homestead communities, but also provides a place for all of Oahu and neighbor island Hawaiians to meet on Oahu for various purposes.
- Support Training Program for the Center for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA). One of the CNHA’s priorities is to train its constituents so that they can become employable in new and expanding fields and further career advancement in areas requiring skilled trades. Innergex is pleased to work with CNHA to achieve this goal of developing a solar project installation skills training course for its members and beneficiaries looking to participate in this industry, with a particular focus on utility-scale projects, where it is expected the most jobs will be available in the next couple of years.
On October 3, 2019, Innergex connected the CNHA Training Program Manager with the President of the Makaha Learning Center (MLC), which teaches apprenticeship and certificate programs primarily to native Hawaiians in the Makaha-Waianae communities to enhance the existing labor force in this field, particularly with the number of anticipated projects requiring skilled labor.
Innergex will provide support for this program and will sponsor a job fair for solar contractors and the graduating students at the conclusion of the programs. The first training program is currently in planning and will be scheduled once the restrictions due to Covid-19 allow classroom training.
- Local Employment & Contracting. Construction and operation phases will create benefits in terms of new employment opportunities, as well as the use of local suppliers. Preference would be given to retaining local persons, consultants, businesses and contractors throughout the development of the project.
- Sponsorships. Opportunities abound within Oahu’s robust non-profit sector and its year-round schedule of festivals, events, conferences, fundraisers, etc. Innergex is committed to annually evaluating sponsorships and doing its share to target support to them.
- Memberships. As a member in community organizations, Innergex would have the opportunity to participate in specific programs that support the missions of the organizations and help to advance mutually-held values and goals.
The Hawaiian Electric Companies launched a request for proposals for clean, renewable energy projects for Oahu, Maui and Hawai’i Island that would help the state meet its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045 to bring more stable electricity costs to consumers and reduce its dependency on imported sources of energy.
In 2019, Hawaiian Electric launched the second phase of their renewable energy procurement process, the single largest procurement effort undertaken by a U.S. utility, for approximately 900 MW of new renewable generation.
- August 2019 – Request for Proposal Issued
- November 2019 – Request for Proposal Bids Submitted
- January 2020 – Short List Group provided their Best and Final Offer
- May 2020 – Final Award Group Selection and Contract Negotiations Begin
- July 8, 2020 – Virtual Public Open House
- The proposed in-service date for the project is December 2023
- Operation – 25-Year PPA Timeframe
Community engagement is ongoing throughout the entire process.
Frequently Asked Questions
See the Frequently Asked Questions handout for details and background information.
What is the Barbers Point Solar Project?
The project combines 15 MW of solar photovoltaic electric capacity with 15 MW, 4-hour (60 MWh) of battery energy storage located in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. The Project is to be located on two non-contiguous lots (Parcels 38 & 40) owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). The solar array and associated infrastructure will utilize approximately 100 acres and will interconnect to the Hawaiian Electric grid via a 0.25-mile long 46-kilovolt generation-tie line.
What led DHHL to identify suitable lands for renewable energy projects?
In August 2009, the DHHL and Hawaiian Electric executed the Energy Partnership Charter with a shared vision for an energy future for Hawaii that would serve as a model of energy self-sufficiency and sustainability and leave a legacy for future generations to come. Critical energy objectives were set, including identifying suitable renewable projects for DHHL’s suitable lands that were not suitable for homestead development.
DHHL has developed a three-tiered planning system to guide planning on its land holdings and policies for resource management, for the benefit of current and future beneficiaries (DHHL 2014). The planning system includes an over-arching General Plan; Strategic Program Plans and Island Plans, including the Oahu Island Plan; and Regional and Development plans, such as the Kapolei Regional Plan. The parcels at Kalaeloa are designated as Industrial and have qualities that are ideal for a solar project. The proposed project would provide DHHL with revenue, which would be utilized for developing homestead sites.
What led to the Kalaeloa parcels of land being available for solar development?
Renewable energy sites were selected by DHHL in consultation with the beneficiary community as part of their planning processes throughout 2008 – 2014. In 2018 and in 2019, DHHL ran consecutive competitive solicitation processes for the disposition of these sites by general leases for renewable energy projects. The DHHL RFP was widely advertised and all qualified applicants were welcomed to bid.
DHHL lands in Kalaeloa, Oahu were deemed not suitable for homesteading due to their proximity to a nearby airport as well as their remote locations, physical characteristics, and lack of infrastructure for residential development.
While all DHHL lands in Kalaeloa are zoned for Industrial use, several parcels were designated for renewable energy production in 2014 through the Department’s beneficiary consultation process and in accordance with DHHL’s 2009 Ho`omaluō energy policy.
It was also determined that the highest and best use of these available lands would be in the renewable energy category as a result of limiting issues including land tenure, presence of historical structures, and topography. The area’s terrain is considered karst which is characterized by porous and permeable coralline limestone reef deposit, making much of DHHL’s Kalaeloa land susceptible to sink holes and therefore more appropriate for low-intensity industrial use. Revenues developed from industrial leasing of these available lands are used by DHHL to develop new homesteads in suitable residential areas throughout the state.
Innergex was selected by DHHL as the final applicant for the proposed project site and to continue with the leasing process that includes consultation meetings with DHHL’s beneficiaries and public hearings. A non-exclusive Right-of-Entry was issued on August 1, 2019 for an initial period of two years with the option to extend for three additional one-year periods to conduct due diligence activities and investigation related to the development of a solar project. Innergex would seek a 25-year term lease to match the power purchase agreement. At the end of the PPA, Innergex is committed to remove the solar equipment and return the site to its previous condition.
What led to this project being developed?
Innergex responded to a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Hawaiian Electric in 2019 for renewable energy that will help stabilize and lower costs while reducing the state’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Who is Innergex?
For 30 years, Innergex has believed in a world where abundant renewable energy promotes healthier communities and creates shared prosperity. As an independent renewable power producer which develops, acquires, owns and operates hydroelectric facilities, wind farms, solar farms and energy storage facilities, Innergex is convinced that generating power from renewable sources will lead the way to a better world. Innergex conducts operations in Canada, the United States, France and Chile.
Who is funding the Barbers Point Solar Project?
Innergex will be responsible for 100% of the development, construction, and start-up costs. After completion, Innergex will also be responsible for all operational and maintenance costs.
Will this mean increased costs for consumers?
Oahu has some of the highest electricity prices in the United States at 31 cents per kWh. The price of solar plus battery energy storage in the recent Hawaiian Electric RFPs is the lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state. The Project will provide a fixed, long-term price for 25-years, in place of volatile prices of fossil fuels, which will put downward pressure on electricity rates.
What will the Project accomplish?
The Barbers Point Solar Project will power approximately 6,200 homes with renewable energy. This will contribute to the State of Hawaii’s goal to be 100% renewable by 2045 and reduce the state’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. The project capitalizes on an abundant solar resource which is the least expensive form of renewable energy available in Hawaii today.
How else will the community benefit from the proposed project?
In keeping with Innergex’s core values, preference will be given to local suppliers and contractors throughout the development of the project. The project will also contribute to local organizations, community projects and events throughout the life of the project.
During operations, the project’s community benefits package will be dedicated to funding the Kapolei Community Development Corporation (KCDC) for the Heritage Center. The benefit of working with the KCDC is that its membership includes the homesteader associations in the Kapolei/Kalaeloa area, including the Malu’ohai, Kaupe’a, Kanehili and Kauluokaha’i homestead communities, but also provides a place for all of Oahu and neighbor island Hawaiians to meet on Oahu for various purposes. Innergex is working with the Center for Native Hawaiian Advancement and the Makaha Training Center who will be providing a solar installation skills training course for its members and beneficiaries who are looking to participate in this industry, with a particular focus on utility-scale projects. The project will also contribute to local organizations, community projects and events throughout the life of the project.
Why are batteries part of this project?
The battery storage system was a key aspect of the RFP. The batteries would be completely charged from the solar panels during the day. The energy can then be used during peak demand in the evening or at other times when the sun is not shining.
Are there any cultural or environmental features to consider for the site?
Respecting the archaeological, cultural, and environmental features of any site that Innergex develops is a priority. As such, archaeological, cultural and environmental studies and analyses are ongoing for gaining a thorough understanding of the site. The intent is to arrive at the best possible final layout that balances archaeological, cultural, environmental, technical, economic and social considerations.
What is the overall impact of solar projects on the environment?
Innergex must provide a complete analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions created throughout the life cycle of the project as part of the Hawaiian Electric PPA and Public Utilities Commission approval process.
The analysis of GHG emissions created throughout the life cycle of the project will include:
- Solar PV Manufacturing, Including Material Extraction;
- Battery Storage Manufacturing, Including Material Extraction;
- Transmission Line Manufacturing, Including Material Extraction;
- Additional Transportation to and from Oahu and Project Construction;
- Decommissioning & Disposal.
This comprehensive inventory of emissions is compiled and compared to the alternative production of the equivalent amount of energy production as if the project were not built.
A recent analysis showed that a similar-sized project in Hawaii would avoid 94% of the Lifecycle and Operational GHG emissions that would have been produced by the normal generation mix.
What is the timeline for the proposed project?
Innergex responded to Hawaiian Electric’s RFP and was selected to start PPA negotiations in May 2020. Innergex anticipates completing construction and beginning operation of the project by the end of 2023. The initial term under the PPA is 25 years. Thereafter, the project can be acquired by Hawaiian Electric, have its PPA renewed, or be decommissioned, recycled and returned to its original state.
How will the project be decommissioned?
As part of the decommissioning of a typical solar project after its useful lifecycle (between 25-35 years), any and all components associated with the project would be removed and the area returned to substantially the same condition as existed prior to project development. Decommissioning criteria include consideration of local environmental factors to minimize effects such as erosion during the removal process, and the recycling of all possible materials demolished or removed from the site.
Reuse or recycling of materials would be prioritized over disposal. Recycling is an area of great focus in the solar industry, and programs for both batteries and solar panels are advancing every year. Panels and batteries would most likely be shipped to recycling facilities on the mainland.
If any materials need replacing before the facility end-of-life, Innergex would seek the most environmentally-responsible route for reuse, recycling or disposal.
To download the Barbers Point Handout
To download our Fast Facts
To download the Frequently Asked Questions
To download the Community Outreach and Engagement Plan
To download the Project Summary & Community Outreach
To download the July 8 Virtual Open House Presentation Posters
To watch the July 8 Virtual Open House
STUDIES, SURVEYS & TECHNICAL MEMORANDUMS
To download the Preliminary Environmental Assessment
To download the Visual Simulations of the Conceptual Project Layout
We know that successful renewable energy projects are developed with the input and support of local communities. We look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments, and suggestions on this project.
Phone: (604) 345-4009