Solar project proposed for Ulupalakua Ranch land

Innergex plans Oct. 30 meeting for public comment

Canadian-based Innergex Renewables USA LLC has come forward as the prospective developer of one of two large-scale solar and power storage projects for Maui announced last week by the Hawaiian Electric Cos.

Innergex said in a news release Wednesday that it had advanced to the “Final Award Group” in HECO’s request for proposals for new renewable power generation with projects on Maui and Hawaii island.

HECO announced that seven solar-power/battery-storage projects were slated for Maui, Hawaii island and Oahu; they are expected to produce about 260 megawatts of solar energy.

Innergex’s Maui project is proposed as a 15 MW solar project with 60 megawatt hours of battery storage on Ulupalakua Ranch land, an ad published Friday in The Maui News said. That will be enough power for about 7,300 Maui households.

The project is much larger than the solar farms that went online earlier this year on Maui and Molokai. The 2.87 MW Ku’ia Solar in West Maui near Lahainaluna High hooked up to the grid earlier this month. Ku’ia Solar’s sister project, the 2.87 MW South Maui Renewable Resources near the Maui Research & Technology Park, went online in May.

Both projects are owned and operated by Kenyon Energy.

On Molokai, a power purchase agreement for a 2.64 MW project, which includes a 3 mWh battery energy storage system, was approved by the PUC in late July. The project is owned and operated by Moloka’i New Energy Partners, a Chicago-based Half Moon Ventures company. It is expected to be in service in late 2019.

An Ulupalakua Ranch official said Friday that the solar power/battery project will be on 200 acres of ranch land.

Unlike Sempra Renewables’ 21 MW Auwahi Wind project built on Ulupalakua Ranch land makai of Piilani Highway in the Kanaio area in 2012, the Innergex solar project is proposed for the northern area of the ranch.

Innergex has a larger solar/battery storage facility planned on Parker Ranch land on the Big Island. It is proposing a 30 MW solar and 120 mWh battery storage facility.

Both the Hawaii island and Maui projects are proposed to be operational by 2022.

The company said that it currently is in the power purchase agreement negotiation stage with MECO, which the utility said it hoped to complete by the end of the year.

In the coming months, Innergex said that it will be conducting technical, environmental, cultural and archaeological studies.

A public meeting is planned for 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Kihei Community Center. The company is accepting comments by email at hawaiisolar@innergex.com.

Innergex, founded in 1990, develops, acquires, owns and operates renewable power facilities in the U.S., Canada, France, Chile and Iceland. Its portfolio includes 37 hydroelectric facilities, 25 wind farms, four solar farms and two geothermal power plants, the news release said.

The second solar/battery developer has not revealed itself yet. Given that HECO said the two MECO projects were supposed to produce a total of 75 MW of power and store 300 mWh, the second project should be a 60 MW facility with 240 mWh of battery storage.

“Each of the developers, as required by Maui Electric, will be sharing information about the proposed projects in the coming weeks and talking to the communities where the projects are being proposed,” MECO spokeswoman Shayna Decker said last week.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.


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