Sunday, November 15, 2009

RFP Posted for Environmental Review Contract to Support Interisland Wind and Undersea Cable Project

The state recently posted a request for proposals ("RFP") for environmental studies to support the Interisland Wind and Interisland Cable projects.

The Interisland Cable is intended to connect wind facilities on the islands of Molokai and Lanai to Oahu, with a phased expansion to Maui. The Interisland Cable project is part of the Energy Agreement signed by the State Division of Consumer Advocacy of the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, and Hawaiian Electric Companies ("HEC"), on October 20, 2008. The primary purpose of the Agreement is to move the state "decisively and irreversibly away from imported fossil fuel for electricity and transportation and towards locally produced renewable energy and an ethic of energy efficiency."

The Agreement commits the parties to:
  • pursuing and integrating as much as an additional 1,000 megawatts ("MW") of renewable energy resources on Oahu including approximately 400 MW of wind power from Lanai or Molokai; 60 MW on the Big Island; and 50 MW on Maui;
  • establishing a Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS") for HEC's obligation to add renewable energy to its power grid (i.e., 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2030);
  • integrating up to 400 MW of wind power into the Oahu electrical system from one or more wind farms on Lanai or Molokai and transmitted to Oahu via undersea cable systems;
  • decoupling revenues from sales so that rates will be based upon a system using independent measures to track the cost of providing electric service;
  • establishing feed-in-tariffs;
  • eliminating system-wide caps on net energy metering;
  • supporting the development of an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard ("EEPS") for the state;
  • reaching the goal of 70% clean, renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030;
  • encouraging "gas-optional" electric vehicles;
  • establishing “lifeline rates”;
  • establishing a "pay as you save" solar water heating program;
  • providing for a "Photovoltaic (PV) Host Program"; and
  • installing advanced meters for all customers who request them.
Two companies have already started planning and/or constructing wind energy facilities in the state. Castle & Cooke is proposing to install a 200 MW wind energy generation facility consisting of approximately 100 to 200 wind turbines on the island of Lanai. First Wind is proposing to install a 200 MW wind energy generation facility consisting of approximately 100 to 200 wind turbines on the island of Molokai. Additional wind turbine locations may be determined based upon site-specific wind measurements, topographical features in the project area, location of sensitive biological and cultural resources, and the type/size of wind turbine selected.

For more on energy initiatives in Hawaii see Energy.

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