The foundation of HIEC’s plan is built on flexibility and efficiency, focusing on cost reductions and continuous development of right-sized, right-sited, and right-priced non-fossil generation projects. The result will be a portfolio approach that consistently rolls in newer, better, lowerpriced resources in order prevent volatility incurred by static planning methods that predictably add or retire large resources every 10 years or so. HIEC’s plan does not include bringing liquefied natural gas to Hawaii Island, but will preserve the possibility of “drop-in” fuel-switching opportunities (such as propane or biodiesel), as long as the savings are known, quantifiable, and quickly realized. HIEC would only pursue a fuel-switch if it could bring immediate value to ratepayers without burdening them with significant, up-front infrastructure costs. HIEC believes that the lowest cost renewable option near term will continue to be utility-scale solar, and with the recent extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit, HIEC intends to move quickly to take advantage of the significant cost savings for projects that are in construction before the end of 2020. Wind and hydro may also be cost-effective, but the Federal Production Tax Credit for those resources begins ramping down in 2017, leaving less time to develop new projects. HIEC proposes to focus on utility-scale solar PV, utilizing storage as part of the new projects in order to prevent curtailment issues that have affected Maui and Hawaii Island. These large storage resources can also provide grid support, but will be financed through the accompanying renewable projects, which will be cheaper than the oil generation that they offset. Since utilityscale renewable projects require significant space, HIEC will work with large landowners to determine the best development sites.
pricing for solar PV projects that include their own storage are now becoming competitive with fossil generation prices
Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative will be better able to ensure a lower cost, more balanced power supply portfolio because: 1) It would not be burdened by the shareholder and corporate needs of an investor-owned utility 2) It would be able to determine what, if any, fuel switch may make sense for Hawaii Island in the near-term while the island continues its transition toward state renewable energy mandates in contrast to pursuing the questionable and controversial LNG path 3) It would build on the successes achieved at KIUC to successfully integrate high levels of low-cost solar into the system while adding just the right amount of storage to ensure reliability levels remain the same or improve.