Hawaiian Electric close to selecting energy storage providers for Oahu
News Release from HECO September 29, 2014
(Honolulu, Hawaii) Hawaiian Electric Company has narrowed the search for companies to provide up to 200 megawatts of energy storage for Oahu. More than 60 proposals were received by the July deadline, responding to an April 2014 request for proposals. Three finalists selected after much evaluation are now in negotiations.
“We were very pleased with the strong response to our RFP,” said Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric vice president for energy delivery. “Each finalist is an internationally recognized company with over a decade of energy storage experience including working with electric utilities. All three are proposing battery storage. We hope to sign contracts with all three that offer the best value for Oahu electric customers.”
With continuing extraordinary growth of variable renewable energy -- utility-scale wind and solar and rooftop solar now in use by more than 11 percent of Hawaiian Electric customers -- energy storage will address sudden changes in output.
When output drops suddenly – due to weather changes or other causes -- energy storage can help maintain reliable service and avoid customer outages. Large, utility-scale batteries will maintain power supply to customers as the utility brings fast-starting generators online and activates measures such as voluntary demand response by customers.
“Energy storage is one key to integrating higher levels of renewable energy from variable sources like solar and wind. It plays a significant role in the O‘ahu Power Supply Improvement Plan recently submitted to our Public Utilities Commission,” Ching said.
Energy storage can provide not only electricity but also “auxiliary services” essential to operate the grid, such as sub-second frequency response (near-instantaneous changes to keep power quality at 60-hertz) and minute-to-minute load following (power output adjustments as demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day).
Projects must be reviewed and approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission with input from the Consumer Advocate. The target is to file energy storage agreements with the PUC for review by early 2015 with systems in service early in 2017.
Reality: Read the long sordid history of battery scams in Hawaii