Hawaiian utility partners to ensure adequate energy supply

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) partnered with independent clean power producer AES Distributed Energy to implement a smart energy project.

The two companies will construct a 28MW solar photovoltaic plant in Kauai, Hawaii.

The plant will be integrated with a 20MW five-hour duration energy storage system.

The solar PV and energy storage system will be operated by AES Distributed Energy to provide energy for use by KIUC to meet peak demand.

David Bissell, CEO of KIUC, commented: “Energy from the project will be priced at 11 cents per kWh and will provide 11 percent of Kauai’s electric generation, increasing KIUC’s renewable sourced generation to well over 50%.”

The power purchase agreement is a measure by KIUC to modernise its grid network, reduce its carbon footprint and improve its customer service by providing its consumers with cheap and reliable electricity.

The utility cooperative serves 33,000 customers on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Further to helping KIUC ensure the reliability of its grid network during peak demand periods, the solar PV and energy storage plant is expected to help the utility cooperative to reduce its fossil fuel usage in generating electricity by 3.7 million gallons per year.

The plant is expected to be the largest solar-plus-utility-scale-battery system in the state of Hawaii.

The project is set to begin in late 2018 once it secures state and local regulatory approval.

Solar PV, ToU pricing and peak demand

Meanwhile, the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is implementing a Time-of-Use (ToU) rate pilot programme for its customers following its approval by the Public Utilities Commission in September last year.

Under the pilot, customers of HECO are charged less for consuming electricity when solar power is abundant and more during the night.

Under the two-year pilot, consumption would be significantly more expensive when Hawaii’s largely oil-powered conventional generation has to operate, and less when solar is feeding back into the grid.

The ToU rate scheme is also aimed at improving the way that the state’s solar resources are used. [DoE grant to boost RE adoption in Hawaii].

The pilot has been limited to 5,000 customers.


Image credit: www.equipmentworld.com.


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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.