Hawaiian Electric Co. is looking for developers to build wind projects on Oahu before a federal tax credit for wind power expires in 2019. HECO said building wind projects before the tax credit expires would keep electrical rates low and help the utility reach the state’s goal of getting 100 percent of its electric power from renewable energy by 2045. The federal investment tax credit for large wind projects, which was 30 percent last year, decreased to 24 percent this year, 18 percent in 2018, and ends at 12 percent in 2019.
“The potential capacity for additional wind power on Oahu is limited and land costs on this island are significant contributors of renewable projects pricing, so we believe it is important to identify ‘shovel-ready’ projects that can take advantage of the federal tax credits as the cost of such projects will likely be higher in the future,” said Shelee Kimura, HECO vice president for corporate planning and business development, in a statement Thursday.
The electrical utility said in a filing with state regulators in December that it intends to add 157 megawatts of utility-scale wind power across all three of its territories – Maui, Oahu and the Big Island – in the next five years. Darren Pai, spokesman for HECO, said the utility is not looking for a specific developer, project, price or capacity at this time. “The clock is ticking on federal tax credits that support wind power, so we are trying to determine if there are developers who could implement a project quickly before those incentives expire,” Pai said.
HECO said developers capable of building onshore wind projects on Oahu should respond with an “expression of interest” no later than Jan. 31. The projects are required to have a capacity of 5 megawatts or more, offer savings for customers and be in commercial operation no later than the end of 2022.
The public can comment on the process by emailing windeoi@hawaiianelectric. com. The utility’s request can be found at hawaiianelectric.com/windeoi. The request for wind developers follows HECO’s December announcement that it is looking for land to build more renewable-energy projects. The state’s largest electrical utility said its companies are issuing a “request for information,” seeking responses from landowners in the utility’s service areas that have space available for utility-scale renewable-energy projects. Landowners’ responses are due Jan. 27.
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