HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii's largest electric utility aims to transform an 85-year-old oil-fired power plant into one that will run on renewable energy.
Hawaiian Electric plans to replace six oil-fueled generators at its Waiau Power Plant in Pearl City outside Honolulu with smaller generation units powered by fuels like biodiesel and possibly hydrogen, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.
The state Public Utilities Commission must approve the plan. It will also consider competing proposals by independent power companies.
In 2014, Hawaii became the first state in the U.S. to require its electric utilities to generate 100% of their power from renewable sources. Utilities must reach that threshold by 2045. As of last year, Hawaiian Electric generated 32% of its energy from renewable sources.
Hawaiian Electric declined to say how large the new Waiau power plant would be or how much it would cost ratepayers, citing the competitive-bidding process.
The plant’s existing infrastructure would provide cost savings and limit effects on the community, it said.
If the company’s plan is approved, the utility expects to have initial replacement generation units ready for use in 2029.
The 500-megawatt Waiau plant is the second-largest power production facility on Oahu. Only the utility company’s oil-fired Kahe Power Plant in Waianae is bigger, at 650 megawatts.
Other fossil fuel facilities in Hawaii are also undergoing transformation. AES Corporation, the company that operated a now-closed coal-fired power plant on Oahu, has said it may turn the site into an energy storage farm that uses batteries to store power generated by solar and wind.