WAIKOLOA, Hawai‘i Island — The Big Island moved one step closer to the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy with the commissioning and blessing on Thursday of Waikoloa Solar + Storage facility.
A host of dignitaries, AES Hawai‘i executives, lawmakers, business and community leaders attended the solar farm’s celebration of the 42 megawatt and 120 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system.
The 94,000 solar panels sit on 300 acres along the southeast mauka end of Waikoloa Road and took two years to complete construction, employing over 200 workers in the process.
Under AES’s 25-year power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric at a cost of 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, the project will supplement the island’s power grid with enough energy to power the equivalent of 13,600 homes. The average household will see its electric bill lowered by approximately $5 per month.
“I noted at the start of our administration that Hawai‘i will be a leader in addressing the great challenge of climate change and this renewable energy project is an example of how we can get that done,” said Governor Josh Green.
“AES Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric deserve credit on partnering on a project with a purpose to produce clean energy that supports the electricity demands of our residents, while making it more affordable. What is done here today is for our families.”
Bernerd Da Santos, Executive Vice President, COO and President of AES Global Renewables, said Hawai‘i is laying the groundwork for a transition to renewables.
“We will continue to build on this work to accelerate the transition, create jobs and support a sustainable economy,” he said. “The positive impact the project will have on the environment and the community extends far beyond the next 25 years and we look forward to co-creating more transformative projects like this in the future.”
Da Santos also praised the cooperation with state and private partners to bring the project to fruition, especially during the pandemic.
“AES, contractors, utilities and government overcame challenges and made things happen,” he said.
Sandra Larson, AES Hawai‘i Market Business Leader, said the project will eliminate more than 511,000 barrels of oil to generate electricity over its 25-year lifespan. She added the project will help mitigate the impact of future blackouts as a result of natural disasters or extreme weather conditions, such as tropical storms or high winds.
AES has five operational solar projects and one wind project across the state with five additional solar project contracted.
Laura Ruminski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island
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