Kaua’i Utility and AES DE Seal Plans For Hybrid Solar, Energy Storage Plant

Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) – a member-owned utility serving 33,000 electric accounts on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i –  and AES Distributed Energy, a subsidiary of AES, sealed a power purchase agreement (PPA) on January 10 for a 28-MW solar photovoltaic energy plant, along with a 20-MW, five-hour duration energy storage system.

The utility described the goal for its hybrid solar and energy storage system as “optimal balancing of generation with peak demand.”

The system is anticipated to be the largest solar-plus-utility-scale-battery system in the state of Hawaii – and one of the biggest storage systems in the world.

“Energy from the project will be priced at 11 cents per kWh and will provide 11 percent of Kauaʻi’s electric generation – increasing KIUC’s renewable sourced generation to well over 50 percent,” said KIUC CEO David Bissell.

“The project delivers power to the island’s electrical grid at significantly less than the current cost of oil-fired powe,r and should help stabilize and even reduce electric rates to KIUC’s members,” Bissell added. “It is remarkable that we are able to obtain fixed pricing for dispatchable solar-based renewable energy, backed by a significant battery system, at about half the cost of what a basic direct to grid solar project cost a few years ago.”

He estimates that the project will reduce KIUC’s fossil fuel usage by over 3.7 million gallons annually.

“We are excited to be able to leverage AES’ industry-leading energy storage platform, and 20 plus-year history in Hawaii in order to help KIUC modernize the grid and provide additional value to its customers, said Woody Rubin, president of AES Distributed Energy

AES DE will be the long-term owner and operator of the project. The project is pending state and local regulatory approvals. If approved, the project is expected to come on-line by late 2018.

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