LIHUE — Pacific Missile Range Facility will be housing a new 19.3-megawatt solar facility in conjunction with a 70-megawatt hours battery energy storage system, thanks to an agreement between the U.S. Navy and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.
The Department of the Navy, Command Navy Installations Command, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and KIUC commemorated the lease signing Dec. 20, and the agreement leases 140 acres of land at PMRF to KIUC for development of the facility.
Construction on the project is set to begin in late 2018.
“KIUC has set an aggressive goal of reaching 70 percent renewable by 2030,” stated KIUC’s Chief Executive Officer David Bissell.
He continued: “This project brings us closer to that goal, while also providing greater overall grid stability via the use of battery storage. The project will displace 2.8 million gallons of diesel annually, can power roughly 6,000 homes, and creates a downward pressure on rates through a long-term PPA (purchase power agreement) that is well below the current cost of diesel.”
The facility will provide renewable power after sunset to help meet KIUC members’ electricity needs during peak usage hours. It will also have the capability of directly supporting PMRF’s mission-critical activities in the event of a short-term or extended grid outage.
AES Distributed Energy has been selected to construct and operate the facility, and the bulk of the project costs will be paid up-front by AES, which will then sell energy to KIUC via a 25-year PPA, priced at 10.85 cents per kilowatt hour.
“AES is honored to be chosen to develop this innovative solar plus storage project and to further our efforts of providing cleaner more reliable energy solutions here on the Hawaiian island of Kauai,” said Woody Rubin, President of AES Distributed Energy. “This project offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution to Hawaii’s evolving customer needs and long-term energy goals.”
The project at PMRF will provide energy security and resiliency that is critical to Kauai, and to the base, according to PMRF Commanding Officer Captain Vincent Johnson.
“Pursuing alternative sources of energy allows us to be stewards of our nation’s defense, the community and the environment. Improving energy efficiency will ensure our base remains a leader in innovation and at the forefront of the defense of the country. The energy generated and stored will provide a reliable source of backup power for our missions while also contributing to Kauai’s renewable energy portfolio,” he said.
In exchange for the use of Department Of Navy land, KIUC is providing in-kind consideration for the value of the land in the form of an express feeder to connect PMRF to the power facility, which will allow PMRF to operate as a micro-grid when necessary.
This project supports a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between the DON and the State of Hawaii to coordinate goals and strengthen the partnership between both organizations in the pursuit of additional renewable energy projects in the state.