Plans for the so-called “Big Wind” projects that originally looked at connecting huge wind energy farms on both the islands of Lanai and Molokai to an undersea cable that would connect to Oahu’s grid may not be on the table anymore, but smaller wind farms are still in the works, a Hawaiian Electric Co. executive confirmed to PBN.
Hawaiian Electric, which recently revealed its updated new energy plans that sets the course for the state to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, included, in those plans, the possible development of smaller wind farms on Molokai and Lanai to serve those islands.
“In our portfolio for Lanai and Molokai are much, much smaller wind turbines just to serve their islands,” Colton Ching, vice president of energy delivery for Hawaiian Electric, told PBN. “That compliments the solar they currently have, plus the additional solar we expect from rooftop solar systems.”
Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, told PBN that almost every type of resource available needs to be considered, including wind.
“We need to keep our eye on the ball to reach 100 percent by 2045,” he said. “We’re stressing that this has to be an all-hands effort. We’re no longer the monopoly that builds and sells. We are so past that. We need customers, regulators and state policymakers to be at the table with us to come up with a plan to get to 100 percent. It’s not just us.”
The plans for the “Big Wind” projects were apparently taken off the table after being met with significant community opposition.
However, the utility did mention that Maui or other islands could possibly be in the mix for connection via an undersea cable to Oahu’s grid.
In its update report to the state regulators, Hawaiian Electric said that the addition of an interisland cable is a key component to its plan as the other islands have the room to develop renewable energy projects that could exceed their own needs, making a surplus of renewable energy available for Oahu.
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