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Solar, battery projects proposed for Kahana, Kamaole, Pulehu areas

New solar power plus battery storage projects for Maui are proposed for Kahana, mauka of the Kapalua Airport; mauka of Kamaole; and in Pulehu, according to Hawaiian Electric, which offered more details of its selections for renewable energy in its latest round of proposals.

There also is a standalone battery storage project near the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene.

When Hawaiian Electric announced its proposal selections on May 11, the utility only revealed the Waena Bess, a self-build project. The utility gave developers 30 days at most to make public their selection with locations and size and to perform community engagement.

A day after Hawaiian Electric’s announcement, Innergex announced its selection as one of the three solar power plus battery storage projects and one battery storage project that were selected for Maui. It did not identify the project’s location at that time.

An update on the developers and more information about the projects was released in a Hawaiian Electric news release Tuesday.

The Maui projects are Kahana Solar, Kamaole Solar, Pulehu Solar and Waena Bess.

Kahana Solar is the Innergex 20 megawatt solar power/80 megawatt hour battery project. It is slated for 220 acres of fallow Maui Land & Pineapple land, 1.4 miles mauka of the Kapalua Airport.

The project is expected to be operational in 2023.

Innergex is planning a virtual open house for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 7. To register for the meeting, go to www.innergex .com/development-opportunities-in-hawaii/the-kahana-solar-project/ or email kahanasolar@innergex.com.

This is the Canadian-based energy company’s second solar/battery project on the island. Its first project, Paeahu Solar on 200 acres of Ulupalakua Ranch land above South Maui, is currently caught in a contested case proceeding. It is a 15 MW solar/60 MWh battery project that is supposed to come online June 2022.

A coalition of Maui Meadows and Kihei residents have complained about archaeological, drainage and endangered species protection issues, as well as the prospect of nearby homes being heated by the array of solar panels. They also are concerned about the price being paid by Hawaiian Electric for the power — 11.68 cents per kilowatt hour — which is higher than five other solar-plus-battery projects approved in the earlier wave of renewable energy proposals.

The Public Utilities Commission held a contested case hearing in December on Paeahu Solar and currently is deliberating the fate of the complaint and the project. Post-hearing briefs, the final arguments, by all sides were filed in late May.

Kamaole Solar is a 40 MW solar/160 MWh battery project set for 320 acres of a Haleakala Ranch parcel that extends from Piilani Highway to Kula Highway. The parcel’s South Maui end is mauka of the Piilani Highway intersections of Kulanihakoi Street and Keonekai Road.

The project is being developed by subsidiaries of SoftBank Group Corp. of Japan. The project is expected to be operational in early 2023.

Pulehu Solar, a 40 MW solar/160 MWh battery project, is being developed on 363 acres makai of Pulehu Road on land owned by Haleakala Ranch. Developer Longroad Development Co. LLC has connections to First Wind, which built the two wind power projects above Maalaea.

According to its website, Boston-based Longroad Energy was founded in 2016 by the former executive team of First Wind Energy — Paul Gaynor, First Wind co-founder and CEO; Michael Alvarez; Peter Keel; and Charles Spiliotis. In 2015, First Wind was sold to a strategic investor for $2.4 billion.

The expected operation date is April 2023.

The Waena Bess project, being built by Hawaiian Electric, is a 240 MWh standalone battery project, expected to be completed by 2023.

The battery storage system is to be built on 1.8 acres of the 65-acre site at Waena near the Central Maui Landfill with access off Pulehu Road. The system would consist of 48 battery modules, each about the size of a shipping container, the utility’s preliminary environmental assessment said. The site is owned by Hawaiian Electric and zoned appropriately for industrial use.

The Waena project will help Hawaiian Electric retire the 72-year-old Kahului Power Plant.

The Maui projects will produce a total of 100 MW of renewable power and 560 MW of storage.

The utility is currently in the contract negotiation stage with the developers on 25-year power purchase agreements, which have to be approved by the PUC. The projects were selected after a competitive evaluation process.

An announcement on project selection for Molokai is expected by the end of July. Hawaiian Electric is currently working on a request for proposals for Lanai to be issued later this year.

Information on all of Hawaiian Electric’s proposals can be found at www.hawaiianelectric.com/statusboard, which has links to each project’s website.

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

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