After months of public anticipation over what Hawaiian Electric had dubbed the largest request for proposals from renewable energy projects in its history, the company on Monday unveiled some information on the projects it had chosen.

But anyone hoping for actual details on where the proposed projects would be built and who had won the right to build them would have been sorely disappointed.

The public will have to wait as long as 30 days to get the details, the company said.

That’s how long the utility said it will wait to make the info public, although it said the winning bidders could reveal themselves sooner.

Solar Farm above mauka of Haleiwa North Shore electric.
This solar farm is located near Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. 

For now, in an announcement marked equally by hoopla and opacity, the company merely released some general info, without naming names or locations. Sixteen solar-plus-storage or standalone storage projects on three islands have been selected.

The announcement comes at a time when large projects throughout Hawaii – from the Thirty Meter Telescope proposed on the summit of Mauna Kea to a windfarm in Kahuku and a proposed municipal park in what’s now a beachside forest in Waimanalo – have all spawned public protests and criticism that the developers didn’t adequately defer to public concerns.

In this case, Hawaiian Electric said, the next step is for the company to enter contract negotiations with the developers, who are expected to begin outreach to the communities where they hope to build. Contracts also must be approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Under the proposals Oahu would have eight new solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 287 MW of generation and 1.8 GWh of storage; Maui would be home to three solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 100 MW of generation and 560 MWh of storage on Maui; and the Big Island would get two solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 72 MW of generation and 492 MWh of storage.

Help Power Local, Nonprofit News.

Across the nation and in Hawaii, news organizations are downsizing and closing their doors due to the ever-rising costs of keeping local journalism alive and well.

While Civil Beat has grown year over year, still only 1% of our readers are donors, and we need your help now more than ever.

Make a gift today of any amount, and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,500, thanks to a generous group of Civil Beat donors.

About the Author