Hawaiian Electric Companies have announced the start of a large-scale renewable energy resources procurement to prevent the use of coal and reduce the dependence on imported oil for power generation.

Following the approval of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have issued requests for proposals for renewable energy and grid services from local and international developers.

Hawaiian Electric president and CEO Alan Oshima said: “Hawaiian Electric has made huge strides toward our renewable energy goals and will end this year achieving a renewable generation portfolio of 30 percent. This effort is a big step in accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to locally-sourced clean energy resources. For customers, the benefits are simple: cleaner energy at lower prices.”

The companies seek approximately 900MW of new renewables or renewables combined with storage generating approximately two million MWh per annum, and the move is expected to help Hawaii reach its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2045.

The RfP includes 594MW of solar capacity for Oahu

The procurements include estimated targets equal to 594MW of solar for Oahu, 135MW for Maui, including energy storage and up to 203MW for Hawaii Island, based on availability of alternative renewable energy projects on the island.

The companies intend to include storage for solar on Hawaii Island, and other technologies are optional, while on Oahu, pairing generation with energy storage is optional.

New renewable generation and storage capabilities for Oahu would replace the 180MW coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in Campbell Industrial Park planned to be closed by September 2022.

The companies have negotiated contracts for eight projects on three islands in the first phase of the renewable procurement, which was completed in 2018.

Seven projects on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island have secured PUC approval to add approximately 260MW of solar energy and more than 1GWh of storage by the end of 2021.

Hawaiian Electric, in a statement, said: “A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources will help system operators manage reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs.

“The companies are seeking grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii islands with targets ranging from 4 MW to 119 MW. This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernizing the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy.”