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The Project

As part of the request for proposal process launched in 2018 by the Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries, Innergex is pleased to propose the Hale Kuawehi Solar Project to the Hawaii community.

This project combines 30 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity capacity with 120 MWh of battery energy storage on Parker Ranch land near Waimea, on the island of Hawaii. The Project would power approximately 16,750 Big Island households with clean, renewable energy.

To power the island of Hawaii with clean and renewable solar energy, a solar field would be built with arrays of photovoltaic panels arranged in rows on single-axis tracking foundations. 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 Hale Kuawehi 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 0.7-miles northwest, across Mamalahoa Highway, to connect into the Hawaii Electric Light Company transmission line.

The solar field and associated infrastructure would occupy approximately 300 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.

More information on solar energy is available at Innergex, the Solar Energy Industries Association, and the International Energy Agency.

 

Archaeological, Cultural and Environmental

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.

To date, we have conducted a preliminary archaeological desktop and reconnaissance field survey at the Project area. A Critical Issues Analysis was also completed which describes the existing environmental resources at the Project area and identifies regulatory requirements, issues, constraints, and limitations as they relate to the Project. We have used these preliminary results to site the proposed Project in a location that minimizes environmental impacts. We will be conducting detailed wildlife and site-specific surveys, and studies are required to assess potential Project impacts, required mitigation, design limitations, and to refine required permitting criteria.

Preliminary archaeological investigations have been undertaken at the proposed Project area. Once the project footprint is finalized, a 100 percent pedestrian archaeological inventory survey, cultural survey, and systematic subsurface testing of the project area will be completed.

Conducting archaeological and cultural surveys as well as environmental and technical studies are crucial to the understanding of a site. Furthermore, early stage meetings with key stakeholders who have information and an interest in the Project area have already started, as well as public meetings to gather feedback on the proposed project. Community engagement efforts will continue throughout the development of the proposed Project. The intention is to arrive at the best possible final layout that balances environmental, technical, economic and social considerations.

Renewable energy projects are subject to County and State regulations.

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.

Thank you for attending and participating in the public open house held on October 29, 2018 at the Waimea Middle School and /or community engagement meetings. To have a look at our presentation and poster material, click here. The collated feedback received during the November 1 – 30, 2018 comment period can be found in the Consultation Report.

Timelines

By 2022, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are seeking to add 390 MW of renewable energy to the State’s energy mix through a competitive procurement process. As such, the Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiary companies, Maui Electric Company and Hawaii Electric Light Company, launched a request for proposals process in the spring of 2018 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, bringing more stable electricity costs to consumers and reduce its dependency on imported sources of energy.

  • February 2018 – Request for Proposal Issued
  • April 2018 – Request for Proposal Bids Submitted
  • June 2018 – Short List Group provided their Best and Final Offer
  • September 2018 – Final Award Group Selection and Contract Negotiations Begin
  • December 2018 – Executed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
  • 2019-2020 – Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Approval of the PPA
  • 2019-2021 – Complete Archaeological and Cultural Surveys, Environmental and Technical Studies and Obtain Permits and Approvals
  • Q3 2021 – Estimated Construction Start
  • Q4 2022 – Commercial Operation Date
  • Operation: 25-Year PPA Timeframe

Community engagement is ongoing throughout the entire process.

Documents

To download the project handout: Hale Kuawehi Handout

To download the openhouse posterboards / presentations:

June 2019 Waimea Community Association Project Update Presentation

2018 Openhouse Posterboards Hale Kuawehi

To download the consultation report: Consultation Report

Get to know Innergex and our Hale Kuawehi Solar Project by downloading the stories:

Application for Approval of Power Purchase Agreement for Renewable Dispatchable Generation can be searched on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Document Management System under Docket No. 2018-0432.

Summary points from the Hawai’i Electric Light Application (noted above):

  • The Project is anticipated to provide savings to the typical residential Hawai’i Electric Light Company customer. It is estimated that as a result of this Project, a typical residential Hawai’i Electric Light Company customer consuming 500 kWh per month could save approximately $6.20 in 2022 and $6.79 in 2023 on the customer’s monthly electric bill.
  • Hawai’i Electric Light Company will have the contractual flexibility to dispatch energy from the Project’s PV or battery storage system as needed, offset night-time customer demand, and assist in grid stabilization subject to discharge limits.
  • The Unit Price, as defined in the PPA, is advantageous in that it is fixed for the duration of the PPA and is anticipated to result in lower effective rates for customers.
  • Hawai’i Electric Light estimates that the Facility has the potential to contribute up to 7.7% to Hawai’i Electric Light Company’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) over the 25-year term of the PPA.
  • The Project will significantly reduce fuel consumption on Hawai’i Electric Light Company’s generating units. It is estimated that the Project has the potential to displace 497,126 barrels of fuels over the [25-year] term of the PPA.
  • Hawai’i Electric Light Company respectfully requests that the Commission explicitly take into consideration the avoidance of production of tens of thousands of tons of GHG emissions each year, for an estimated total of up to 180,500 tons of GHG emissions that will be avoided during the 25-year term of the PPA.

Contact

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) 633-9990 ext. 2231 or (604) 345-4009

Email: hawaiisolar@innergex.com