Skip to main content

Hawai'i Powered - Clean Energy for Hawai'i, by Hawai'i

Hawaiian Electric HawaiiPowered.com   |   HawaiianElectric.com

Each renewable energy zone is unique.

The zones vary by geography, ecology, community needs and access to the energy grid.

The renewable energy zones were developed using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory about the right conditions for renewable resources. Now we’re looking to add personal insights by connecting with people like you, who live and work within the potential renewable energy zones.

To power the grid with 100% renewables by 2045, we need your partnership to deepen our understanding of opportunities and challenges for new clean energy projects within these identified renewable energy zones.

Explore the maps on the next page to identify potential areas that may be a good fit for a new renewable energy project and to highlight any sensitive features in your community we need to be aware of.

Renewable Energy Zones Analysis

Submit a general comment

Select an island
?
Explain why and how the three currently-selected islands were chosen. Provide some additional information.

Add your input

Explore the renewable energy zone maps and add comments for the Hawaii Powered team. Your input will help us identify and understand communities across the islands.

Examples opportunities:

Which areas could be successful sites?
  • Available land/property
  • Access to existing energy grid
  • Vacant buildings/property
  • Co-location possibilities

Examples challenges:

Which areas would be most challenging?
  • Steep terrain
  • Sensitive species
  • Cultural sensitivities
  • New or planned construction
  • Recreation
  • Agriculture

Use the actions here to add new comments, view existing comments, and adjust map layers.

Map Data

The initial REZ information developed with NREL focuses on Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu. For more information, visit hawaiipowered.com

About this map

Hawaiian Electric partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop the zones based on an analysis of the best technical conditions for wind and solar energy generation. This included data about:

  • Wind and sun coverage
  • Steepness of slopes
  • Financial costs
  • Access to the site and proximity to existing transmission corridors

Decarbonizing the power grid while also providing reliable, resilient electricity requires both immediate action and long-term planning. Hawaiian Electric uses a multiprong approach to address many needs during this decarbonization transition. This includes:

  • Releasing CBRE RFPs this year to increase access for all customers to participate in generating their own clean energy, including people who do not have a rooftop and/or are unable to install private rooftop solar.
  • Releasing “Stage 3” RFPs to address immediate reliability needs within the next five to seven years.
  • Releasing RFPs next year that tackle long-term reliability and renewable energy needs. For example, to date we have been successful in acquiring low-cost solar and solar battery projects. We’d like to test the market for other technologies that can help diversify our energy portfolio to be more resilient and reliable, reducing fossil fuel consumption and dependency on any single source of electricity. Developing renewable energy zones is one of these long-term resource opportunities. Other long-term resources could include long-duration storage, pump storage, hydro power and offshore wind.
  • Releasing RFPs such as mentioned above generally uses available interconnection points and capacity of the existing system – to support a streamlined interconnection process. However, to achieve a 100% renewable future, Hawaiian Electric will need to plan for future points of interconnection and increase capacity on the system to capture increases in renewable energy. This is where renewable energy zones help our planning process.Together we can plan the future of renewable development.

There are many considerations that go into releasing an RFP for new energy projects, including technical assessments of grid needs and input from stakeholders and community members.

Hawaiian Electric will not publicly post comments with names, but we will create a summary of key themes from comments and may quote anonymous comments in future public outreach materials. Hawaiian Electric staff will review all comments and consider as part of the grid planning process.

You can comment as many times as you’d like for all three islands, and you do not have to be a resident to comment on any island. However, Hawaiian Electric is most interested in hearing from people who live and/or work in the communities within renewable energy zones. This is because community members have personal, lived experience that is critical to understand as we plan for potential future locations of projects.

Maps are open for public comment from September X through October X, 2022. Once the public comment period closes, Hawaiian Electric will review public and technical feedback to refine the renewable energy zones and identify potential future energy projects.

Balancing land use priorities to move toward a clean energy future.

To power the grid with 100% renewable energy by 2045, we need more renewable energy projects at both the community level and grid level. For example, to replace just one coal-fired plant on Oahu scheduled to go offline in 2022, we expect the island will need new wind and solar projects with a collective footprint 29 times the size of Aloha Stadium.

There is a lot to consider when identifying locations for new renewable energy projects. Each resource requires different technical conditions—for example, grid-scale solar facilities generally require flat, open terrain that receives consistent sunshine. There are also other land use priorities that we must understand and balance. Land is limited across the islands, and it will take communication, collaboration and creativity to find land use solutions that protect cultural resources and the environment and meet various needs: for communities, affordable housing, agriculture, industries, energy, and more.

Mapping renewable energy zones

As a first step to identify potential renewable energy projects, we needed to understand which places have the right technical conditions for different resources. Hawaiian Electric brought in a partner to help study this challenge: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Together, Hawaiian Electric and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted a data-driven preliminary study to identify potential areas on Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui that may be suitable for future renewable energy projects. The outcome was a set of renewable energy zones for these three islands, representing where future energy projects could potentially be located.

A renewable energy zone is an area that has suitable technical conditions for clean energy generation projects, including cost-effective connections to the existing grid, and additional transmission infrastructure required to connect potential clean energy projects to customers. A renewable energy zone will enable efficient interconnection of clean energy projects that may include solar, wind, battery energy storage, among other resources, by creating grid capacity.

Hawaiian Electric partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to estimate the potential for grid-scale solar, wind, and distributed rooftop solar developed based on available land, potential capacity, and potential electricity generation for sites across the five islands. This included data about:

  • Wind and sun coverage
  • Steepness of slopes
  • Financial costs
  • Access to the site and proximity to existing transmission corridors and grid connections
  • Land use and zoning

With this information, Hawaiian Electric identified potential areas called Renewable Energy Zones to complete a high-level analysis of the transmission requirements needed to support the interconnection of each zone to our electricgrid.

Hawaiian Electric and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory chose to consider only wind and solar potential when mapping the renewable energy zones because studies show that those two resources are the most cost-effective grid-scale options for generating clean energy within the next ten years. We are also considering other resources and technologies—including geothermal, biomass and hydro-energy—as we plan for a resilient and reliable grid powered by diverse energy sources.

Much of our grid planning work on Lanai is happening in collaboration with the majority landowner on the island. Hawaiian Electric is seeking a developer to build and maintain the largest renewable energy project and the first to offer the shared solar program on the island. We look forward to adding more renewables on Lanai to move forward with the transition to clean energy.

On Molokai, the island is currently preparing a Molokai Community Energy Resilience Action Plan (CERAP): an independent, island-wide, community-led and expert-informed collaborative planning process to increase renewable energy on Molokai. The CERAP is being coordinated by the Molokai Clean Energy Hui by Sustainable Molokai. The Hawaiian Electric team is excited to provide technical support to the Molokai Clean Energy Hui in their planning process to develop a portfolio of clean energy projects to achieve 100% renewable energy for the island that is feasible, respectful of Molokai's culture and environment and strongly supported by the community.

Learn more at sustainablemolokai.org/clean-energy

The latest version of the study was filed in November 2021, and is can be found online.

Seeking community insights to hone the zones

With Hawaiian Electric’s initial study complete, Hawaiian Electric needs your help to refine the renewable energy zones! We’re gathering public insights to understand the potential impacts, land use opportunities and community needs and interests within each zone on Maui, Oahu and Hawaii Island. We invite you to share your thoughts through the interactive map, below, or through one of our in-person engagement opportunities, including:

  • Community presentations (request a presentation for your community group)
  • Community talk stories
  • Youth and student conversations
  • Community events (find an event near you)

Your feedback will help Hawaiian Electric identify locations for potential future renewable energy projects.

Not necessarily. Each island is unique and will require a different set of projects to meet local energy needs. Depending on the island and location of each zone, one zone may have multiple projects and another zone may not have any projects. Hawaiian Electric is still studying these renewable energy zones, and the community conversations around these zones will help enhance our understanding of land use priorities within each zone.

Hawaiian Electric will consider public input and technical studies to refine the renewable energy zones and identify projects to move forward within each zone. This information will be used to inform another round of competitive procurements to be issued next year.

Demographics Questions (Optional):

×

Map information coming soon

×

Your comment has been submitted. Thank you for your input!