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Hawaiian Electric proposes battery storage project on Maui

WAILUKU — Hawaiian Electric has proposed the construction of a battery storage system on Maui that will lead to the closure of a power plant there.

The utility proposed a 40 megawatt storage system at its Waena power station in Pulehu, The Maui News reported Sunday.

The project would replace the Kahului Power Plant at Kahului Harbor on Maui.

Hawaiian Electric submitted the storage project plan as part of a request for proposals issued by the state Public Utilities Commission in August for 295 gigawatt hours of renewable energy and 58 gigawatt hours of power storage.

The commission is evaluating bids and a decision is expected in May.

The commission has independent observers and a technical adviser to ensure proposals are treated equitably and will not create technical problems on island grids.

Under the competitive bidding framework, Hawaiian Electric is can propose “self-build” projects to meet capacity needs in the request for proposals, said Kuhea Asiu of Hawaiian Electric’s Maui County utility operations.

The battery storage system on the Waena site would include 48 battery modules, each one about the size of a shipping container, Asiu said

The utility also would build an electrical switch yard nearby to deliver power to the grid, the company’s preliminary environmental assessment said.

The utility did not disclose the cost of the proposal due to the competitive bidding process.

The 40 megawatt project would to replace the 37.6 megawatt capacity of the 72-year-old Kahului plant, which Hawaiian Electric hopes to retire in 2024, Asiu said.

The Kahului plant was deactivated in 2014 but reactivated in 2016 because of the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., which sold previously power to Hawaiian Electric.

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