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 Kahana Solar Project to the Maui community.
This project combines 20 MW of solar photovoltaic electricity capacity with 20 MW, 4-hour (80 MWh) of battery energy storage on land owned by Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc. (MLP) in Napili-Honokowai on the island of Maui. The project would power approximately 11,600 Maui households with clean, renewable energy.
To power the island of Maui 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 Kahana Solar Project must be connected to the grid to supply the community with the needed power and connect into an existing Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (Maui Electric) transmission line adjacent to the site.
The solar array and associated infrastructure would occupy approximately 220 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.
- State Special Use Permit (SUP);
- Maui County Special Use Permit (CUP);
- 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;
- Grading, grubbing, building, and electrical permits from Maui County (must have County CUP approval before construction permits [e.g., building, grading, grubbing] can be issued.
Although Innergex will design the Project to minimize impacts to Water of the U.S. (i.e. jurisdictional waters under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), if impacts are unavoidable, then the following permits may also be required:
- Clean Water Act (CWA) §404 Nationwide Permit (NWP) from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (to be confirmed based on results of jurisdictional determination and final Project design);
- CWA §401 Water Quality Certificate (WQC) from Department of Health (DOH) under the blanket form (to be confirmed based on results of jurisdictional determination and final Project design);
- Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Consistency Determination from Department of Business Development, Economics, and Tourism (DBEDT) Office of Planning (if CWA §404 NWP required); and
- Stream Channel Alteration Permit (SCAP) from the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) (if impacts are made to stream channels within CWRM jurisdiction).
Based on the results from prior archaeological surveys, the Project area is unlikely to contain a high number of significant archaeological features. The previous archaeological work in the vicinity has shown that on flatlands like those within the Project area, archaeological sites have been absent because of the past impacts to the land. One archaeological resource is present in the Project, the Honolua-Honokohau Ditch and its depth beneath the ground surface will be assessed. Mitigation measures may be required for this resource to ensure the protection of this historic property.
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.
Project and Community 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 Maui’s unique challenges.
The County of Maui’s Maui Island Plan: General Plan 2030 states: “Renewable energy development will be critical to help the State of Hawai`i and Maui County reduce energy costs, avoid the negative economic effects of volatile oil prices, reduce overdependence on oil, and increase energy security by reducing imports.”
The Kahana Solar Project will contribute to Maui’s renewable energy goals as called out in the Maui Island Plan and potentially offer benefits listed below:
- Productive Use of Unproductive Land. Maintaining large tracts of agricultural lands is a core value of Maui County residents, as evidenced by concerns expressed about the sale of the vast sugar cane lands of HC&S/A&B and the hope that the new owner, Mahi Pono, will fulfill the permitted purposes of lands under the agricultural lands designation. At the same time, the public acknowledges that farming on Maui is more difficult than ever with high costs of inputs, production, and shipping. Most residents do recognize the need for these landowners to diversify in order to keep their large land holdings intact. Renewable energy development is a low impact way of accomplishing this.
- Lower Cost, More Equitable, Stable-Priced Energy Feeding the Grid. In the 2015 final report of the MPower Maui process and the more recent series of more than 50 interviews conducted in preparation for the Paeahu Solar Project, residents emphasized that the cost of electricity is a prevalent concern. Projects like the Kahana Solar Project are intended to contribute to lowering electricity bills over the long term. The proposed price is less than Maui Electric’s current cost of generating power with fossil fuel and the price Innergex would charge per kWh will be set for 25 years.
Those interviewed for the Paeahu Solar Project also emphasized the desire for electricity rates to be equitable and lower for all ratepayers. Even those who have installed PV systems on their residences were sensitive and concerned about residents who cannot afford rooftop PV systems and therefore benefit from the resulting reduction in electricity costs. The savings being shared by everyone on the grid through the Kahana Solar Project is a positive response to this concern.
 In May 2015, Maui Economic Development Board led a community engagement project called MPower Maui, An Energy Conversation. The project reached 435 residents through 43 small group sessions in a 30-day period.
- Solar Farm as a Firebreak. One of the benefits of the project, with its planned, well-maintained buffers, is its role as a firebreak to lands in the area, given how vulnerable the West Maui region has proven to be during the most recent fires.
- Battery Energy Storage Systems Can Reduce Curtailment. The recently-publicized curtailment of other wind and solar projects on Maui 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 Kahana Solar Project in reducing curtailment. The stored power dispatched in the evening—when rooftop solar is not available—can 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 Maui. 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 Maui’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. This is of particular concern in West Maui, which can become isolated due to limited transportation corridors from Central Maui. Knowing that the sun is a readily-available, reliable resource, Maui residents are supportive of the utility harnessing a renewable resource to improve the island’s energy stability and grid resiliency.
- Dedicated Funding to the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve. Maui Land & Pineapple Company (MLP) owns and manages the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve. It is the largest private nature preserve on Maui and encompasses 8,304 acres. MLP employs five full-time conservationists to manage and protect the area. Innergex has met representatives of MLP and the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve to more fully understand the mission and priorities of the Preserve and has confirmed its support of the Preserve over the life of the project.
- Support Cultural Resource Work of the Aha Moku. Innergex will work with the Aha Moku O Ka’anapali and their leadership to find ways to assist them with cultural program work within the Kahana ahupua’a.
- Annual Grant to Support Energy Efficiency. Innergex is committed to an annual grant program to a non-profit(s) to offset the costs of incorporating energy efficiency measures or installing solar energy at their facilities. The goal would be to help the organization achieve operating savings that would then free up funds for tangible program work. Grant guidelines, including the deadline for applications, would be developed and publicized at least annually.
- 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 Maui’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 7, 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 Kahana Solar Project?
The project combines 20 MW of solar photovoltaic electric capacity with 20 MW, 4-hour (80 MWh) of battery energy storage on land owned by Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc. (MLP) in Napili-Honokowai on the island of Maui. The solar array and associated infrastructure will utilize approximately 220 acres and connect into an existing Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (Maui Electric) transmission line adjacent to the site.
Why is this suitable land for a renewable energy project?
The Kahana Solar Project site is located 1.4 miles mauka from the Kapalua Airport and the nearest residential community. The site is adjacent to existing transmission infrastructure and in an area with an excellent solar resource. The Project would temporarily utilize agricultural land, which has not sustained active activities since 2009; therefore, the installation of a solar project would not displace existing agricultural production.
What led to this project being developed?
Innergex responded to a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Maui 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 Kahana 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?
Maui has some of the highest electricity prices in the United States at 35 cents per kWh. The price of solar plus battery energy storage in the recent Maui 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 Kahana Solar Project will power approximately 11,600 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. During operations, the project’s community benefits package will be dedicated to funding the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve to support its impressive conservation initiatives. Innergex will also provide an annual grant to non-profits to support energy efficiency measures and will support the cultural resource activities of the Aha Moku O Ka’anapali. Our community contributions will also include memberships and sponsorships of various organizations and events.
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. These studies and analyses will be conducted to gain a thorough understanding of the site and any findings. The intent is to arrive at the best possible final layout that balances archaeological, cultural, environmental, technical, economic, and community 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 Maui Electric Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Public Utilities Commission approval process. A recent and similar sized project analysis resulted in a comparison that showed a similarly sized solar project would eliminate 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 Maui 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 Maui Electric, have its PPA renewed, or be decommissioned, recycled and site restored to its original state.
Will the low cost of oil impact solar development and will it still help lower our bills?
The price of these utility scale projects remains lower than the utility’s overall cost and goes into their cost of procured power. Energy procurement is a small part of your electric bill and Maui Electric remains committed to 100% renewable energy by 2045. This project will be a part of that long-term plan and the price will remain the same to Maui Electric over the life of the PPA. Oil prices will continue to fluctuate.
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 Kahana 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 7 Virtual Open House Presentation Posters
To watch the July 7 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