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Tuesday, July 02, 2013
HECO to Shutter Plants, Refocus on 'Low Cost' Renewables
By News Release @ 12:47 AM :: 2959 Views :: Energy

Hawaiian Electric Companies submit plans to meet future electricity needs of Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island

Plans include power plant deactivations; more renewable projects; cleaner, cheaper fuels; and smart meters 

News Release from HECO July 1, 2013

(Honolulu, Hawaii) – The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed on Friday with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission their Integrated Resource Planning Report and Five-Year Action Plans. The report details plans to meet future electricity needs for Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii Island.  It also affirmed that Hawaii is well on its way to exceeding its renewable energy goals, which are among the most ambitious in the nation.

Plans for significant change include:

  • Deactivating older, less efficient oil-fired generating units to help lower costs and increase the use of renewable energy generation. 
  • A total of 226 megawatts – more than 14% of utility-owned generation -- will be deactivated by 2016. This includes Honolulu Power Plant and two of four units at Maui’s Kahului Power Plant by 2014, as well as two generators at Oahu’s Waiau Power Plant by 2016. It also includes Hawaii Island’s Shipman plant, which has already been deactivated and will be retired in 2014. Further, all units at Kahului Power Plant would be fully retired by 2019.¹   
  • Lowering customers’ costs by accelerating development of low-cost, fast track utility-scale renewable energy projects, including solar and wind.
  • Converting or replacing generating units, which have not been deactivated, to use cost-effective, cleaner fuels, including renewable biomass or biofuel and liquefied natural gas.
  • Increasing the capability of utility grids to accept additional customer-sited renewable generation, especially roof-top photovoltaic systems, while protecting safety, reliability and fairness for all customers.
  • Developing “smart” grids for all three companies to improve customer service, integrate more renewable energy, and enable customers to better control their electric bills.  Major components include installing smart meters for all customers (with opt-out provisions) in 2017-2018, automating grids, and developing utility energy storage systems.

“This planning includes the most meaningful promises we can make for our customers. None of us is satisfied with the status quo. These commitments to action will move us to a cleaner, more secure and affordable energy future.

We thank all those who have participated in the IRP process, including nearly 70 Advisory Group members, the PUC’s independent facilitator, and members of the public who attended meetings or submitted suggestions,” said Scott Seu, vice president for energy resources and operations. “This is an important milestone and there will be more opportunities for input.”

The Advisory Group will be providing further review and comment to the PUC on the detailed actions plans. The public can also comment to the PUC’s independent facilitator overseeing the process by email at public@irpie.com.

The integrated resource planning report is available at www.hawaiianelectric.com/IRP.

It is important to note that in the new “scenario-based” resource planning process, action plans must be flexible enough to address the dynamic conditions in today’s global and local energy sector.  Rather than a fixed course of the action, it makes sense to be ready to adjust any plan to account for changes in technology, economic conditions, and other variables. The Hawaiian Electric Companies will conduct periodic updates of these plans and will complete another full Integrated Resource Planning process in three years.

As summarized in the companies’ IRP report:  “Our relationship with our customers begins in their homes and their businesses — helping them to conserve energy, to take advantage of energy efficiency and distributed generation options like PV, and providing them the most information and the greatest control of their electricity use possible through tools such as smart meters and energy education. We also must continue to live up to our responsibility to ensure safe and reliable service for our customers…in whatever manner and from whatever source our customers choose.”

Integrated Resource Planning overview:

Integrated Resource Planning aims to develop comprehensive, five-year action plans for meeting energy needs under various scenarios in the Hawaiian Electric service territories. The goal is to ensure delivery of reliable electric service for residential and business customers while striving to decrease the use of imported fossil fuel, increase efficiency and reduce electric bills.

¹”Deactivation” means a generating unit will no longer be run to meet the energy needs of customers. In a major emergency, such as the tsunami damage in Japan in 2011, with appropriate preparation, a deactivated unit can be reactivated to avoid power shortages for customers.  By contrast “retirement” or “decommissioning” means a generating unit is disconnected from the grid and permanently shut down.

FULL TEXT: Integrated Resource Planning Report and Five-Year Action Plans.

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