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To add critical grid reliability to Hawaii and move the island closer to its clean energy goals, Hawaiian Electric Company will build a 40-megawatt (MW) renewable energy site in Maui. Dubbed ‘Ūkiu Energy, the innovative facility will support the state’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutrality by 2045.

The facility will be built by Massachusetts-based Ameresco, Inc. and include a biofuel-powered generator with six dual-fuel engines. It will offer firm renewable energy and provide a highly flexible capacity resource. The facility will also maintain power quality, enhance grid reliability, and allow for the additional integration of intermittent renewable resources.

Hawaii Energy
Lahaina Harbor, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo:Adobe Stock / RandyJay)

 

In the event of a power outage, it will have the ability to be brought online, in black start mode, to help repower the grid. Additionally, the fast, flexible engines will enable the current fossil fuel generators to turn down their idling engines, supporting decarbonization efforts.

Key outcomes include not only renewable energy provided 24/7 to the island, but also a reduction in Maui’s dependence on foreign sources of fuel.

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“We are honored to play a pivotal role in Hawaii’s journey toward a sustainable and resilient energy future,” said Nicole Bulgarino, Executive Vice President of Ameresco. “The ‘Ūkiu Energy site will continue to reduce Maui’s dependence on fossil fuels and pave a pathway that not only benefits our environment as a whole, but also enriches the island’s local communities.”

The facility is part of Hawaiian Electric Company’s latest phase of clean energy procurements aimed at reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil for power generation. After the ‘Ūkiu Energy contract is finalized, it will be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for review and approval. Once approved, it will be built, owned, and operated by Ameresco, and is designed to interconnect to the Maui electrical grid at the new Hawaiian Electric Waena substation.

‘Ūkiu Energy is Ameresco’s fourth project with Hawaiian Electric. Other projects include:

  • Kūpono Solar, Oahu: A 42MW solar and 42MW/168MWh battery storage facility expected to come online in Q2 2024
  • Pu`uloa Energy, Oahu: A 99MW firm renewable generation facility expected online in 2027
  • Pu`uloa Solar, Oahu: A 6MW solar and 6MW/30MWh battery storage facility expected online in 2026.
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