Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World's Largest Solar + Battery Plant Unveiled in Hawaii

Renewable Energy
World's Largest Solar + Battery Plant Unveiled in Hawaii

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

Atlantic puffins courting at Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge in 2009. USFWS / Flickr

When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.

Read More Show Less
Rescue workers dig through the rubble following a gas explosion in Baltimore, Maryland on Aug. 10, 2020. J. Countess / Getty Images

A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.

Read More Show Less
The recalled list includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions, which may be tainted with salmonella. Pxhere

Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Methane flares at a fracking site near a home in Colorado on Oct. 25, 2014. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Researchers on the ICESCAPE mission, funded by NASA, examine melt ponds and their surrounding ice in 2011 to see how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the biological and chemical makeup of the ocean. NASA / Flickr

By Alex Kirby

The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.

Read More Show Less
President Vladimir Putin is seen enjoying the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A John Deere agricultural tractor sits under a collapsed building following a derecho storm on Aug. 10, 2020 near Franklin Grove, Illinois. Daniel Acker / Getty Images

A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.

Read More Show Less