Hawai'i’s 100% clean energy future – locally produced renewable energy
In 2008, the State of Hawai’i established a goal to reduce the state’s reliance on imported fossil fuel and produce 100% of electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2045. In 2018, the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) issued the largest ever Request for Proposals (RFP) for renewable energy in the state’s history. Through that process, eight projects were selected including AES Clean Energy's West O’ahu Solar + Storage Project.
$20.2 Millioneconomic output
Job creation and economic benefits
It is estimated that the Project construction would result in creation of 118 jobs and generate a total economic output of $20.2 million toward Hawai'i's economy. *
less than the cost of fossil fuel
Low-cost renewable energy
Under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Project would deliver power at $0.106/kWh – less than the cost of fossil fuel power. *
of O'ahu’s energy needs
Upon completion, the Project is anticipated to contribute approximately 0.5% of O'ahu’s energy needs. *
545,794 barrels of oil avoided
The project is expected to result in total avoided fuel consumption of 545,794 barrels of oil over its 25-year span.*
*2 source: Hawaii PUC Dockets 2019-0050, 2018-0436, 2018-0430; Exhibit 6
West O’ahu Solar + Storage project overview
- 12.5 MW solar photovoltaic
- 50 MWh containerized lithium-ion battery energy storage
- Feeds into Hawaiian Electric utility (HECO) electrical grid
- Located in West O’ahu, on University of Hawai’i West O’ahu Mauka Land’s property
- Utilizes up to 97 acres of land leased from University of Hawai’i West O’ahu (UHWO)
- 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) – includes decommissioning and return of Project area to its existing condition (or comparable) at end of lifespan
- Helps UHWO meet their 2035 net-zero mandate and provides a revenue stream to support higher education
Collaboration and engagement
AES Distributed Energy is deeply committed to becoming an active, invested member in the communities we serve.
Throughout the process, AES has and will continue to engage and listen carefully to community feedback on the Project. Specific issues identified by the community thus far are actively being addressed and we continue to seek input to ensure we are responsibly examining concerns.
Archaeological and cultural resources
AES recognizes we have a responsibility to respectfully address archaeological and cultural resources early in the process. With this understanding, we started the project by undertaking the following actions:
Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA)
One of the initial steps in the process was to prepare a CIA in consultation with Native Hawaiian organizations, agencies and community members to obtain input regarding present and past uses, cultural sites, traditional gathering practices, cultural association and any associated cultural concerns and identify historic and cultural issues in the project area and region.
Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS)
To identify and document any potential historic properties within the project area, an AIS was conducted, and is pending review by the State of Hawai’i Historic Preservation Division (SHPD).
Solar facilities are considered to be highly compatible with agriculture activities. AES has pursued partnerships with potential compatible agricultural operators early in the project development stage.
Specific beekeeping requirements have been incorporated into the project site plan.
Cattle production and grazing
The area is currently used for cattle ranching. In consultation with an existing area rancher, rotational cattle grazing will be incorporated into compatible agricultural plans for the site.
Community members have raised visual impacts as an important consideration.
As much as possible, the project will be designed and laid out to reduce visual impacts, especially from neighboring communities.
Where practicable, landscaping will be incorporated to further reduce visual impacts.
Visual simulations and view planes
To better understand the visual impacts, AES prepared renderings to simulate views of the project from various vantage points.
Glint and glare
A Glare analysis has been conducted from key observation points and conservative model results indicated very limited impact to commuters, residents, and air traffic.
West O'ahu Simulated Layouts
HECO renewable energy RFP
(February) Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) request for proposals (RFP) for competitive procurement to supply renewable energy generation to O'ahu in order to help the state meet its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, bringing more stable electricity costs to consumers, and reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuel.
Ongoing community consultation
Community consultation to continue throughout the life cycle of the Project with emphasis on ensuring feedback informs project design and approach.
(September) - Final award group is selected, AES DE selected for three out of eight solar + storage projects.
Initial community meeting
(February 2019) Correspondence sent to community and early-stage community meeting held
Contract to sell power
(August 2019) Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approves Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) executed between HECO and AES.
Ongoing project development: Due diligence
Design, engineering, and permitting
- Design and engineering is an iterative process
- Due Diligence, site investigative studies, site assessment, and consultation conducted, will continue to inform Project design, engineering, and compliance with all necessary county, state, and federal approvals
- Community consultation to continue throughout the lifecycle of the Project with emphasis on ensuring feedback informs project design and approach and is incorporated into permit application and approvals process.
- Chapter 343 Environmental Assessment (EA):
- Draft EA published on April 8, 2020
- 30-day public comment period (through May 8, 2020)
- Final EA and a Notice of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued on June 30, 2020, and published July 8, 2020
- State Special Use Permit (SUP)
- SUP Application approved. Included agency/public review and a public hearing before the Planning Commission on January 6, 2021
- Requires approval by the City & County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP), Planning Commission, and the Land Use Commission (LUC)
- Conditional Use Permit (Minor)
- Application to be filed after SUP process is completed (Q1 2021)
- Requires approval by DPP
- Feedback and information gathered from ongoing community engagement, due diligence, HECO technical review, consultation, and the permitting process will assist with refining and finalizing design and engineering
Construction will begin only after all necessary county, state, and federal approvals and permits are obtained.
Guaranteed Commercial Operation Date no later than December 31, 2022
25 years of operation
At the end of the Project's operational life, the Project would be decommissioned with the Project area returned to its existing condition (or comparable).
We appreciate your interest and participation in Hawai’i’s renewable energy future. We look forward to hearing your ideas, thoughts and comments.
West Oahu solar project gets green light from the Public Utilities Commission
State agency approves 80-acre solar project near UH West Oahu
PUC approves the AES West Oahu Solar Project (Hawaii: State Of Clean Energy)