Quantcast

World's Largest Solar + Battery Plant Unveiled in Hawaii

Renewable Energy

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative /YouTube screenshot

Hawaii has a new, game-changing tool in its renewable energy arsenal. Power producer AES Corporation and the not-for-profit Kaua'i island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) unveiled what's claimed to be the world's largest solar-plus-storage peaker on the island of Kauai on Tuesday, the Lāwa'i Solar and Energy Storage Project.

This is a significant step to help the Aloha State reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, one of the most aggressive decarbonization targets in the nation.


So what exactly does this thing do? The battery-based energy storage system—consisting of a 28-megawatts of solar PV and 20-megawatt lithium-ion battery—is designed to supply the grid with peak power output for up to five hours while simultaneously charging the batteries, according to the member-owned energy cooperative.

Essentially, the new facility solves a big hiccup with standalone solar plants, which traditionally turn to peaker plants that run on fossil fuels to meet peak demand on the grid.

Once it's fully integrated, the Lāwa'i plant will offset the use of 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year, the developers touted in a press release.

"Now that the Lāwa'i project is on line, as much as 40 percent of our evening peak power will be supplied by stored solar energy," KIUC's president and CEO David Bissell said at the unveiling on Tuesday. "I think it's safe to say this is a unique achievement in the nation and possibly the world."

All told, the plant will be able to meet an estimated 11 percent of Kauai's energy needs, making the island more than 50 percent powered by renewable energy, the developers said.

Power from the facility will be purchased by KIUC at 11 cents per kilowatt hour via a 25-year power purchase agreement—that's "roughly 1/3 lower than the current cost of diesel," the cooperative commented Tuesday on Facebook. "So it will save our members money."

KIUC's Bissell added, "Replacing fossil fuels with stable, lower-priced renewables helps us keep rates as low as possible for our members."

AES president and CEO Andrés Gluski said that the Lāwa'i project will help Kauai reduce its reliance on fossil fuels all while generating clean, reliable and affordable energy.

"As a supplier of power to Hawaii for more than 25 years, we are honored to have been chosen by KIUC to help demonstrate its commitment to the state's vision of a cleaner energy future," Gluski said in a press release. "We believe this project is a significant step toward ushering in the wider era of firm renewables."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More