Hawaii’s state utility Hawaiian Electric is seeking to deploy energy storage as the state moves closer towards its new goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.
To accommodate the surge in renewable generation, customers and the state utility will have to start looking to implement energy storage technologies, “which have yet to pencil out financially for mass adoption within the market,” says Pacific Business News.
The topic of energy storage was addressed at the recently held Hawaii Energy Policy Forum, bringing together 40 representatives from the electric utilities, oil and natural gas suppliers, environmental and community groups, renewable energy industry, academia, and federal, state and local government.
Says Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric: “Technology will be the key to integrating all of these renewables.”
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said that it has chosen to implement pumped-hydro storage instead of battery energy storage technology.
Also discussed was the alternative of moving toward an off-grid system.
President and chief executive officer of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative stated: “We no longer look at raising rates and passing that on to customers.
“We have to control our costs. If the utility can’t put out a competitive product out there, then more people will go off the grid.”
Pacific Business News notes that while Hawaii’s state and federal tax credits are awarded for solar-generated, some raised whether subsidies are still needed as an incentive, with the transition from fossil fuel to renewable base load generation.
Commenting on incentivised clean power generation, Ben Sullivan, energy and sustainability manager for Kauai County and a panelist at the event, said: “It’s different today … I’m not saying it should end. We are wrestling with these issues very vigorously right now.
Mr Sullivan said: "Should we invest in tax credits for battery [energy] storage? We should learn from what we have seen from the solar tax credits.”