It would be one of the largest solar installations in the world and was seen as a possible substitute for the 70-turbine wind farm that is being proposed for the island of Molokai as part of the Big Wind project.
But it’s unlikely that the massive 300-megawatt solar farm that San Diego-based Sempra Energy is hoping to build on underutilized Navy land near Pear Harbor will take the place of the wind farm.
The company told Civil Beat that it probably would not be able to secure land for the project in time to respond to Hawaiian Electric’s request for proposals for other renewable energy projects.
State regulators had directed the electric utility to issue a new RFP after the Molokai portion of the Big Wind project ran into problems. The Big Wind project aims to bring wind energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu via an undersea cable.
Molokai residents are strongly opposed to the idea of putting windmills on their island, making it unlikely that state regulators will approve it.
Hawaiian Electric has said it will consider energy projects on Oahu or on any island that can reach Oahu by cable. Wind developer Molokai Renewables still plans to submit a bid for a 200-megawatt Molokai wind farm despite the public opposition. The Lanai portion of the project is still moving forward.
Mitch Dmohowski, who is in charge of Sempra’s energy projects in Hawaii, said the company was unlikely to meet an expected August 2012 deadline for bids because it didn’t think it could secure land from the Navy in time. The military still has to issue its own RFP for the land, which could take more than a year.
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