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The Project

Innergex is proposing to develop the Paeahu Solar Project, a 15 MW solar photovoltaic and 60 MWh battery energy storage system project on Ulupalakua Ranch land, mauka of Piilani Highway in South Maui. The proposed Project would power about 7,300 Maui households with clean, renewable energy.

The Project would consist of a solar field with arrays of photovoltaic panels that would be arranged in rows on single-axis tracking foundations. The solar array would charge the battery storage during the day to provide electricity whenever it is needed most, day or night.

Other equipment on site would include combiners, inverters, transformer(s), buried conduits, and onsite collection lines.

The proposed interconnection route would consist of an overhead transmission line that would extend from the Project switchyard approximately 0.5-mile south to connect into the Maui Electric Company grid at the Auwahi 69 kV substation.

The solar field and associated infrastructure would occupy approximately 200-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 your 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 would 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 for 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. 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 and 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 communities and partners. Thus, when developing a solar project, Innergex believes in generating local benefits that go beyond economic benefits such as job opportunities.

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.

Thank you for attending and participating in the public open house held on October 30, 2018, at the Kihei Community Recreation Centre and /or community engagement meetings. To have a look at the 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.

For additional information refer to Frequently Asked Questions and What We Heard & What We Did sections.

Thank you for attending and participating in the public information sessions held on June 3, 4 and 5, 2019, at MRTC. To have a look at the presentation and poster material, click here.

Mahalo

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 – Execute Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
  • 2019 – Public Utilities Commission 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
  • Q2 2022 – Commercial Operation Date
  • Operation – 25-Year PPA Timeframe

Community engagement is ongoing throughout the entire process.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

See the Frequently Asked Question handout for details and background information.

 

What is the Paeahu Solar Project?

Innergex is proposing a 15 MW solar photovoltaic and 60 MWh battery energy storage system project on Ulupalakua Ranch, mauka of Piilani Highway in South Maui, under a land lease agreement. The project will be located on approximately 200 acres of Ranch land.

What led to this project being developed?

Innergex responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Maui Electric Company, Ltd (“Maui Electric”) in 2018 for renewable energy that will help stabilize and lower costs while reducing the state’s reliance on imported fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Who is Innergex?

Founded in 1990, Innergex is a Canadian independent renewable power producer which develops, acquires, owns and operates hydroelectric facilities, wind farms, solar farms, and geothermal power plants. Innergex has operating solar projects in the United States, Canada, and Chile.

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.

Why was Ulupalakua Ranch selected as the location for this project?

Ulupalakua Ranch was selected because it has an excellent solar resource, buildable land, existing Maui Electric infrastructure (i.e. substation and transmission line), and Ulupalakua Ranch’s interest in creating sustainable, diversified uses of the less productive areas of their land. In addition, Maui Electric identified the need for regional electricity generation in South Maui due to load growth and constrained transmission capability.

What will the Project accomplish?

The Paeahu Solar Project will power approximately 7,500 homes with renewable energy. This will contribute to the State of Hawaii’s goal to be100% renewable by 2045 and reduce the state’s dependency on imported fossil fuel. The project capitalizes on an abundant solar resource which is the least expensive form of renewable energy available in Hawaii today.

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 Maui Electric RFP is the lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state. The Project will provide a fixed, long-term price of 11.7 cents per kWh, in place of the volatile prices of fossil fuels. This is more than 20% lower than Maui Electric’s current cost of generating electricity which will put downward pressure on electricity rates.

How else will the community benefit from the Paeahu Solar 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.

Who is funding the Paeahu 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.

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 timeline for the Project?

Innergex responded to Maui Electric’s Request for Proposal in April 2018 and, after meeting other milestones, was awarded a Power Purchase Agreement in December 2018. Innergex anticipates completing construction and beginning operation of the project by June 2022.

How long will Paeahu be in operation?

The Project’s power purchase agreement (PPA) with Maui Electric has a term of 25 years. Thereafter, the project can be purchased by Maui Electric, have its PPA renewed, or be decommissioned (equipment recycled). Innergex is responsible for decommissioning and restoring the site to its original state.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • The Project is planning to use a temporary access road outside of Maui Meadows during construction.
  • Use of Piilani Highway during construction would be temporary and would try to avoid peak traffic
    hours.
  • During operations the site requires only minimal access by light-duty vehicles.
  • Best management practices will be used during construction and operation such as scheduling deliveries for non-peak hours of traffic, minimizing the number of vehicles on roadways.
  • A traffic Impact Analysis will be completed as part of County Special Use Permit application.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • The setback between the Project and residences was increased an additional 70 ft. The Project is now
    270 ft at the closest point.
  • The height of the solar panels was reduced from 14-16 ft to 7-8 ft by using a shorter solar tracking
    systems.
  • The Project will be visible from select locations but will not dominate the landscape.
  • Visual (photo) simulations show that some Project areas will be visible to the closest residences in
    Maui Meadows, but not visible from most of the neighborhood or from Piilani Highway.
  • Innergex is assessing landscaping options for visual screening to supplement the existing natural
    vegetation to help reduce visual impacts.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • The solar panels will have an anti-reflection coating.
  • Single-axis tracking panels (i.e. instead of fixed-tilt) will continuously track the movement of the sun
    with the center of the panel face. This will minimize reflectivity and limit glint and glare.
  • The Project design accounts for potential glint or glare and follows guidance developed by the Federal
    Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • Preliminary analysis that simulated the perspective of nearby residences did NOT find any glint or
    glare issues.
  • Detailed analysis will be conducted on the final design layout and if any issues are identified then
    measures will be taken to mitigate them.
  • Preliminary meeting was held with the Maui Fire Department to discuss fire protection and risk
    reduction in which the department noted the project would act as a firebreak to Maui Meadows.
  • A fire safety plan will be implemented. We will work with the department to identify and mitigate safety
    risks to prevent incidents and protect employees, first responders, the public and the environment.
  • A site visit with the Fire Department will be held to review procedures for different types of potential
    incidents.
  • Paeahu’s battery energy storage system has been designed to comply with national fire safety
    standards and best safety practices including proper training for operators and first responders.
  • Battery storage to be used at Paeahu has undergone stringent safety testing and are designed for
    commercial and outdoor use and will utilize liquid cooled lithium-ion batteries enclosed in multiple
    smaller steel cabinets to mitigate fire spread in the case of an external or internal fire event.
  • Battery supplier has completed a full-scale hazard assessment of its battery system by the US
    National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that included both internal and external fire attack
    experiments.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • Required archaeological, biological, technical, and site-specific surveys and studies are underway to
    assess potential impacts, mitigation measure, design limitations, and meeting permitting criteria for
    the Project.
  • Site-specific plans will be prepared to address potential impacts (e.g. spill and stormwater prevention,
    erosion and sediment control).
  • Innergex is regularly consulting with the Aha Moku, environmental groups, and other stakeholders in
    to these surveys and studies.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • The Project will not change the local climate or affect the natural flow of air across Maui Meadows.
    The up- and down-slope winds off Haleakala would overwhelm any heat creation from the solar farm.
    The Project area is simply too small in relation to the area of the southwestern slope of Haleakala to
    have a significant impact on the natural air movement across Maui Meadows and the larger Wailea
    area.
  • The Tetra Tech Memorandum RE Heat Island Effect in Context to the Proposed Paeahu Solar Project,
    Maui County, Hawaii dated December 12, 2018.

Refer to the Tetra Tech Memorandum RE Heat Island Effect in Context to the Proposed Paeahu Solar Project, Maui County, Hawaii dated December 14, 2018.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • EMF levels at Maui Meadows will not change as a result of the Project. Electric facilities produce EMF,
    as do household appliances and electrical lights. The Project will produce low levels of DC EMF from
    panels and collector lines, and AC EMF from inverters, battery energy storage system, transformers,
    and power lines.
  • Levels of DC EMF produced are significantly less than the Earth’s magnetic field. Levels of AC EMF
    also decrease rapidly with distance and point sources will be 625 – 3,000 ft from Maui Meadows. As a
    result, no electric or magnetic fields created by the project will be measurable at any residences.
  • The term “dirty” power is used to describe electricity containing high radio frequency noise. “Dirty”
    power is commonly produced by household electronics such as computers. Utility-scale power
    generators such as solar farms must meet national power quality standards and include high
    frequency voltage filtering. Project equipment must meet federal radio frequency standards and any
    low levels produced dissipate near the source, leaving no measurable levels at the project boundary.
  • Innergex followed-up with the two companies put forward by Dr. Debra Greene: Cratus Canada on
    December 12, 2018 and Satic Inc. on December 13, 2018. Satic agreed that the proposed project at
    these distances are far enough away to not have an impact on the neighboring residences. Innergex
    requested that they provide additional information for review and consideration.
  • Refer to the Tetra Tech Memorandum RE EMF and ‘Dirty Power’ in Context to the Proposed Paeahu
    Solar Project, Maui County, Hawaii dated December 15, 2018.

Refer to the Tetra Tech Memorandum RE EMF and ‘Dirty Power’ in Context to the Proposed Paeahu Solar Project, Maui County, Hawaii dated December 15, 2018.

HOW HAS LOCAL INPUT INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT DECISIONS?

  • The Project is not expected to have an adverse effect on nearby property values.
  • Colliers International analyzed tax assessment and property sale values for properties adjacent to two
    recent utility-scale solar projects in Hawaii (Waianae and Waihonu). Residential properties adjacent or
    in close proximity to the solar farms increased in value over 3-4 years between 8% to 35%.
  • The Colliers International Memorandum RE Market Pricing Study: Property Tax Assessment & Price
    Changes to Land Adjacent to Solar Farms dated November 22, 2018.

Refer to the Colliers International Memorandum RE Market Pricing Study: Property Tax Assessment & Price Changes to Land Adjacent to Solar Farms dated November 22, 2018.

Documents

To download the project handout: Paeahu Handout

To download the June 2019 Information Session posterboards: June 2019 Information Session Posterboards Paeahu

To download the Community Feedback handout

To download the 2018 Openhouse posterboards: Openhouse posterboards Paeahu

To download our consultation report: Consultation Report

To download our Fast Facts: Fast Facts

To download our FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

To download Tetra Tech Memo RE Heat Island Effect in Context to the Proposed Paeahu Solar Project

To download Tetra Tech Memo RE EMF and ‘Dirty Power’ in Context to the Proposed Paeahu Solar Project

To download Colliers International Memo RE Market Pricing Study: Property Tax Assessment & Price Changes to Land Adjacent to Solar Farms

Get to Know Innergex and our Paeahu 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. 2018-0433.

Summary points from the Maui Electric Company Application (noted above):

  • The Project is anticipated to provide savings to the typical residential Maui Electric Company customer. It is estimated that as a result of this Project, a typical residential Maui Electric Company customer consuming 500 kWh per month could save approximately $2.78 in 2022 and $3.90 in 2023 on the customer’s monthly electric bill.
  • Maui Electric 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.
  • Maui Electric Company estimates that the Facility has the potential to contribute up to 3.9% to Maui Electric Company’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) over the 25-year term of the PPA.
  • The Project will significantly reduce fuel consumption on Maui Electric Company’s generating units. It is estimated that the Project has the potential to displace 597,761 barrels of fuels over the [25-year] term of the PPA.
  • Maui Electric 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 279,194 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 these projects.

Phone: 604 633-9990 ext. 2231 or 604-345-4009

Email: hawaiisolar@innergex.com