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Hawaiian Electric selects developer for ‘Ūkiu Energy

Hawaiian Electric selects developer for ‘Ūkiu Energy
The proposed 'Ūkiu Energy site (source Esri, Maxar, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus, DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, and the GIS User Community, County of Maui, Department of Planning; image courtesy Ameresco).

In the United States (US), Ameresco, Inc., a leading cleantech integrator specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy, has announced that it has been selected by Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. as developer for the proposed 40 MW 'Ūkiu Energy renewable power project in Maui.

According to a statement, this innovative facility will add critical power grid reliability to the island and move Hawaii closer to its clean energy goals, including the state’s commitment to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity and carbon neutrality by 2045.

The proposed facility will include a biofuel-powered generator with six dual-fuel engines. It will offer firm renewable energy and provide a highly flexible capacity resource.

This facility will also maintain power quality, enhance grid reliability, and allow for the additional integration of intermittent renewable resources. Importantly, in the event of a power outage, it will have the ability to be brought online, in black start mode, to help repower the grid.

Additionally, the fast, flexible engines will enable the current fossil fuel generators to turn down their idling engines, supporting decarbonization efforts.

Benefit local communities

Key outcomes include not only renewable energy provided 24/7 to the island but also a reduction in Maui’s dependence on foreign sources of fuel.

In support of the ‘Ūkiu Energy facility, Ameresco is steadfast in its commitment to identifying meaningful ways to benefit the local community.

This includes supporting community organizations, social service providers, and non-profit organizations focused on environmental and natural hazard mitigation, quality-of-life enhancements, homelessness, Science Technology Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, and youth recreation.

Ameresco looks forward to engaging with the community to identify and support programs that benefit the local region throughout the life of the facility.

We are honored to play a pivotal role in Hawaii’s journey toward a sustainable and resilient energy future. The ‘Ūkiu Energy site will continue to reduce Maui’s dependence on fossil fuels and pave a pathway that not only benefits our environment as a whole but also enriches the island’s local communities, said Nicole Bulgarino, EVP of Ameresco.

The latest round of clean power procurement

The facility is part of Hawaiian Electric Company’s latest phase of clean energy procurements aimed at reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil for power generation.

After the ‘Ūkiu Energy contract is finalized, it will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review and approval.

Once approved, it will be built, owned, and operated by Ameresco, and is designed to interconnect to the Maui electrical grid at the new Hawaiian Electric Waena substation.

‘Ūkiu Energy is Ameresco’s fourth award with Hawaiian Electric, building on the success of Kūpono Solar, a 42 MW solar and 42 MW/168 MWh battery storage facility, on Oahu expected to come online in Q2 2024, Pu`uloa Energy, a 99 MW firm renewable generation facility, on Oahu expected online in 2027, and Pu`uloa Solar, a 6 MW solar and 6 MW/30 MWh battery storage facility, on Oahu expected online in 2026.

‘Ūkiu Energy, Pu`uloa Energy, and Pu`uloa Solar remain subject to PUC approval.

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