Hawaii increases its use of renewable energy sources

The 30MW Hale Kuawehi Solar facility in Hawaii is anticipated to commence construction in early 2022 and be operational by the end of the year. Parker Ranch, via its renewable energy affiliate Paniolo Power Company, is collaborating with Innergex Renewable Energy of Canada to create the project, which will provide renewable energy comparable to the needs of nearly 15,000 families.

The project is going to be among the Island’s first utility-scale solar facilities, cutting dependency on the imported fossil fuels and moving the state closer to its goal of producing 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

In 2019, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) authorized a power purchase agreement (PPA) of 25 years with Innergex to provide electricity from the venture to Hawaiian Electric at $0.08 per kWh. The project will also meet roughly 20 percent of Island of Hawaii’s baseload energy needs, saving more than half a million barrels of oil over the course of 25 years.

The Hale Kuawehi complex will span 300 acres near the Parker Ranch’s industrial park, off of the Mamalahoa Highway, and will have 30MW AC of the photovoltaic panels on the single-axis trackers, as well as 120MWh of the battery energy storage. The initiative will generate inflows through tax revenues, which will be used to reinvest in the Island and create jobs. Innergex is actively working on its community aid package as well as reaching out to non-profit organizations in the area.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with Innergex on bringing additional renewable energy to the Island as well as the State. This project is in line with our purpose of assisting our Beneficiaries while also enhancing the standard of living in our area,” Parker Ranch’s President and CEO, Dutch Kuyper, stated. “We hope to share plans for additional renewable energy and environmental programs that will help address the dangers of climate change by reducing CO2 emissions and fossil fuel consumption.”

Parker Ranch is taking a variety of steps to reduce carbon emissions as a portion of its strategic strategy, which emphasizes generating value via sustainability and economic development. Parker Ranch is actively seeking reforestation and more options to boost clean renewable energy generation, in addition to previously changing its grazing strategy to reduce its carbon footprint.

Hawaii also wants to increase local food production by 2030, in addition to its renewables goal. Dr. Matthias Fripp, who works as an associate professor in charge of the electrical engineering at University of Hawaii situated at Manoa, writes in his white paper SWITCHing the paradigm:

“When the choice is portrayed as needing to pick between two goals, it can become paralyzing. In actuality, however, the development of renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics (PV), and the preservation of Hawaii’s agricultural land don’t have to become mutually exclusive.  Its research indicates that the 2 can not only coexist, but also possess a symbiotic relationship “which allows us to attain these lofty aims at the same time.”

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