Hawaii Electric Issues RFP to Jump-Start Renewables on Oahu

February 26, 2013

On February 22, Hawaii Electric issued an RFP for renewable energy projects with a nameplate capacity of 5 MW or more. As previously discussed here, Hawaii is a particularly attractive market for renewable energy developers because Hawaii has by far the highest cost for conventional energy of any state, well above the cost of solar installations even if tax credits and other incentives are not considered.

Apparently recognizing that renewable developers have become frustrated with the long delay in issuing a final version of its draft RFP for renewables and undersea cable development -- issued in draft form last September -- the new RFP seeks to expedite approval of projects that are in the pipeline. In particular, the new RFP promises to seek a waiver from the Hawaii PUC's Competitive Bidding Framework, which would otherwise apply to projects of this size, if power can be brought on line quickly. Specifically, the RFP seeks:

1) power from sources that qualifying under Hawaii's Renewable Portfolio Standard with a nameplate capacity of at least 5 MW;

2) located on Oahu;

3) at a price that will provide "an attractive reduction in costs" for Hawaiian ratepayers; and,

4) that can be brought on line no later than the end of 2015.

Winning bidders will be required to enter into RFPs for a term of 20-25 years. Response to the RFP are due on March 22, 2013.

Hawaii Electric also plans to move forward with a final version of the RFP for renewables and undersea cable. The company indicates it plans to issue that RFP in the second quarter of this year.

If you have any questions about the RFP or other matters discussed in this post, please contact a member of GTH's Energy, Telecommunications, and Utilities practice group.