Utilities and Solar Providers Partnering in Hawaii

Utilities and Solar Providers Partnering in Hawaii

It’s part of a plan to make the island of Oahu fossil fuel-free

The latest 8/2/22: Last week Hawaii hit a milestone on its journey to 100% renewable energy generation with the arrival of what is expected to be the state’s final shipment of coal. The shipment, sourced from Indonesia, will be used to fuel Hawaii’s last remaining coal-fired power plant, which is scheduled to go offline when its power purchase agreement ends in September. This is certainly something to celebrate, and Hawaii’s commitment to pursuing clean energy in spite of the unique challenges the state faces should be an example for other parts of the nation to follow.

In Hawaii, a utility company is forming a partnership with solar providers to aid the transition to renewable energy and help preserve the state’s’ environment and natural beauty.

Oahu is the largest of the Hawaiian islands by population, with over one million people. The island’s last fossil fuel energy plant is scheduled to cease operations in September of this year. To help ensure the clean energy transition happens on schedule without disruptions, Hawaiian Electric, the utility which serves Oahu, is asking the state’s regulators to reward solar-empowered homeowners who send energy back to the grid.

The plan calls for an upfront cash bonus to homeowners who install a battery system to store solar energy, and for them to be compensated at the retail rate for sending that stored energy back to the grid during the evening hours, when demand for energy is expected to be at its highest.

In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the country to set a date for achieving 100% clean energy generation, aiming for a complete transition to renewables by 2045. With no coal, oil, or natural gas resources of its own, Hawaii has had to import fossil fuels for decades. As a result, Hawaiians have had to get used to paying more than double the national average for electricity. Many residents are hoping that making the most of the state’s abundant sun and wind resources will help lower the state’s high cost of living.

Like any major change, the ongoing transition to renewable energy can cause conflict, and it’s not a secret that utilities and homeowners interested in going solar don’t always see eye to eye. The new proposal in Oahu is an encouraging example of what’s possible when utilities, solar providers, and homeowners work together with the bigger picture of preserving our planet in mind.

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