Clean energy milestone reached as Hawaiian Electric deactivates Honolulu Power Plant
News Release from HECO, January 31, 2014
HONOLULU, Jan. 31, 2014 – Hawaiian Electric Company’s path to a clean energy future reached a significant milestone today with the deactivation of the Honolulu Power Plant, nearly a century after the generating station first started providing electricity to the people of Oahu.
“This is a sign of Hawaii’s progress in reducing its dependence on oil. Thanks to the tremendous growth in renewable energy and more efficient use of electricity by our customers, we’re able to deactivate older, oil-fired generating units,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric’s vice president of power supply.
Through the years, Honolulu Power Plant assured safe, reliable electric service to downtown Honolulu residents and businesses. The plant’s history dates back to 1920 when the site at Halekauwila and Alakea Streets was first constructed as the Alakea Plant, providing an initial 95 megawatts to the Oahu electric grid. Its location was particularly meaningful, as it sits at the harbor where whaling vessels once off-loaded the oil that was used to power the city’s lamps.
By 1957, the Honolulu Station expanded along Ala Moana Boulevard at Richards Street to provide an additional 115 MW of generating capacity. The building housing two of its largest generating units was officially named after Leslie A. Hicks, who was Hawaiian Electric’s president at the time. The plant played a key role in meeting Oahu’s energy needs during the time Hawai?i was admitted to statehood in 1959 and during an unprecedented building boom that propelled the islands into an era of phenomenal growth.
“The Honolulu Power Plant and the generations of employees who served there have played a vital role in the history of our state. We’re proud of that legacy of service to our customers and will continue to uphold that tradition as we build a clean energy future for our islands,” Cox said.
Hawaiian Electric is continuing to integrate increasing amounts of renewable energy as it modernizes the electric system on Oahu. The island’s growing portfolio of clean energy includes the following:
- Hawaiian Electric’s biofueled generating station at Campbell Industrial Park
- The City & County’s H-POWER waste-to-energy facility
- Two wind farms owned and operated by First Wind
- More than 29,000 photovoltaic systems on customers’ rooftops
- Several utility-scale solar facilities
More clean energy projects on Oahu are in development, in negotiation, or in the process of regulatory review, including:
- The Hawaii Department of Transportation is constructing a 10-MW biofueled generating station at Honolulu International Airport.
- Hawaiian Electric is also working with the Army on the development of a 50-MW biofueled generation station at Schofield Barracks.
- Hawaiian Electric is also seeking permission from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to pursue nine more renewable energy projects on Oahu with a combined capacity of 240 MW.
- Hawaiian Electric is also seeking approval from the PUC for a 15 MW photovoltaic system, which the company plans to develop at the Kahe Generating Station.
More than 18 percent of the electricity used by customers of the three Hawaiian Electric Companies – Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light – comes from renewable resources, already surpassing the state’s 2015 goal of 15 percent.
As a result of this progress, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are planning to deactivate a total of 226 MW of generation by the end of 2016. The plan includes:
- Two generating units at the Waiau Power Plant will be deactivated by 2016.
- Hawaii Island’s Shipman plant has already been deactivated
- On Maui, two of four units at Kahului Power Plant will be deactivated in 2014, and all four units will be retired by 2019.
Hawaiian Electric has also committed to review its generation needs on an annual basis. Based on that analysis, additional units will likely be identified for deactivation in the years ahead.
The full deactivation process will take several months. The plant’s two generating units must be cleaned and the equipment must be preserved to protect it from corrosion. The careful and deliberate process and appropriate preparation ensures the two units can be reactivated during emergency situations.
By contrast, “retirement” or “decommission” means a generating unit is permanently removed from service and no longer available for use under any circumstances.