Hawaiian Electric finalizes Integrated Grid Plan to decarbonize energy system by 2045
Hawaiian Electric has filed its Integrated Grid Plan with the Public Utilities Commission, outlining steps the company will take in the coming years to ensure its system will achieve net zero carbon emissions and use 100% renewable resources by 2045.
Hawaiian Electric is seeking regulatory approval of the plan.
Since 2018, Hawaiian Electric has collected data and gained insight through various working groups, inputs and assumptions modeling, regular stakeholder meetings, community events and presentations.
The information gathered helped shape the plan, which prescribes actions and alternative scenarios based on the adoption of existing technology, while leaving room for future technological breakthroughs. It includes details on technical findings and community engagement throughout the planning process.
“Meeting the energy needs of our customers up to and beyond 2045 requires a short-term
action plan and a long-term strategy – and that’s what the Integrated Grid Plan delivers,” said
Colton Ching, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of planning and technology.
Hawaiian Electric filed the draft plan with regulators on March 31 and invited public comments
on the draft through April 21. The company received just over 300 comments from community
members, stakeholders, technical advisory panel members and PUC staff, and used the
feedback to add clarifications near the top of the 299-page report. A record of all comments
received on the draft is included in an appendix.
Hawaiian Electric’s modeling shows that although energy rates may rise in the near-term
transition to clean energy, they will be lower and less volatile than if the company continues to
rely on fossil fuels for energy generation.
The plan projects that the transition to renewables may also ease the energy burden on customers with low to moderate incomes, as measured by the percent of income that low-income households spend on average on annual energy bills.
Near-term actions the Integrated Grid Plan prescribes include:
- Expanding customer choices with new programs that make it more affordable to
participate in energy generation, storage and efficiency. This includes programs to
reduce barriers to private rooftop solar and shared solar projects for customers with low
and moderate incomes. By 2030, the plan calls for a cumulative 125,000 private rooftop
solar and energy storage systems (1,186 megawatts) and 3,400 gigawatt-hours of energy
efficiency measures in homes and businesses on Oʻahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Lānaʻi
- Stabilizing rates by adding large-scale renewable generation and energy storage.
Hawaiian Electric’s proposed timeline shows adding more than 3,700 megawatts
of hybrid solar, energy storage and firm renewables by 2030. This includes up to 1,340
megawatts from Stage 3 procurements issued earlier this year, for which Hawaiian Electric is currently evaluating bids. These additions may enable the company to remove over 540 megawatts of fossil-fuel-based generation from daily operations by 2030.
- Ensuring reliability by adding renewable firm generation. Firm generation provides
an on-demand source of energy that is not weather dependent. Hawaiian Electric is
monitoring geothermal, renewable hydrogen, biomass/biofuels and ocean thermal
energy conversion as potential solutions for firm generation to include in an increasingly
diverse portfolio of resources. The company will also continue to monitor the condition of
aging generators and prepare contingency plans as necessary to reduce the risk of
outages caused by generation issues.
- Engaging communities early and often throughout the development of future
energy projects, including the siting of grid infrastructure. The company also
proposes requirements for developers to develop and implement public engagement
plans and provide benefit packages to host communities.
- Reducing costs for customers by seeking federal funding. Hawaiian Electric is
pursuing federal funds to reduce the cost of grid modernization and hardening.
Successful implementation of the plan will depend on Hawaiian Electric’s ability to take
immediate action, and it will require enhanced energy policies, coordination of regulatory
processes and robust community engagement, according to the utility.