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Hawaiian Electric seeks developers for utility-scale renewable energy projects

Hawaiian Electric Co. is looking for developers to build utility-scale renewable energy projects in Hawaii that can be up and running quickly and at a low cost per kilowatt-hour.

If one or more such projects are chosen, HECO, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE), will work with the developer to seek a waiver from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s competitive bidding framework.

To qualify to seek a waiver, a project must be located on Oahu, be larger than 5 megawatts and may use any viable renewable technology, such as wind, solar or geothermal.

HECO said the project must meet all applicable archeological, environmental and construction permitting requirements.

In addition to receiving a waiver from competitive bidding, HECO and any developer selected must negotiate a power purchase agreement that will be subject to PUC approval.

The goal is to have one or more such projects in service by 2015.

“We believe the best way to reduce our customers’ bills is to add as much renewable energy on long-term, fixed-price contracts to our grids as soon as possible,” HECO Vice President for Energy Resources and Operations Scott Seu said in a statement. “We believe there may be projects substantially ready to go that can be built quickly and at a cost that can help reduce our heavy dependency on fossil fuels.”

The “Invitation for Low Cost Renewable Energy Projects on Oahu Through Request for Waiver from Competitive Bidding” and an application form are posted at www.heco.com/waiverprojects. The deadline is March 22. Questions may be sent to the email address on the site.

HECO is still working to release a request for proposals for 200 megawatts of variable renewable energy titled, “Renewable Energy and Undersea Cable System Projects Delivered to the Island of Oahu” later this year, pending approval of the PUC. Projects not selected for a waiver request or denied a waiver may still bid without prejudice into the 200-megawatt RFP when it is released.