On Thursday, Hawaiian Electric issued a long-awaited request for proposals for about 900 megawatts of renewable energy and energy storage initiatives. It’s the utility’s second main spherical of contracts prior to now 12 months in search of to marry variable solar and wind power with the capability and flexibility of batteries. 

But the Variable Renewable Dispatchable Generation and Energy Storage RFPs that opened on Thursday are a bit extra difficult than their headline figures — in search of “technologies equal to 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu, 135 megawatts for Maui and up to 203 megawatts for Hawaii Island” — may point out. 

Unlike its first huge solar-storage procurement in January, HECO’s new RFPs are damaged right into a quantity of particular initiatives and particular wants throughout its three islands, with a combination of completely different applied sciences required. This complexity comes from the truth that these RFPs have been structured to assist substitute two huge fossil-fuel-fired power vegetation to shut within the subsequent 5 years — the AES Hawaii coal-fired power plant that serves about one-sixth of Oahu’s peak demand, set to retire in 2022, and the oil-fired Kahului plant on Maui, set to shut in 2024. 

This impending loss of two huge spinning turbines has pushed HECO and regulators to approve a mix-and-match of technology mixture to interchange them. That will make them laborious to check on to HECO’s first spherical of procurements, in addition to the utility-scale solar-plus-storage bids on the mainland. 

Developers successful HECO’s first-round RFP in January shocked the business with costs starting from 12 cents per kilowatt-hour to a record-breaking 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, as in comparison with common Hawaiian solar-storage project costs of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 and 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2016

They additionally got here with some novel buildings, comparable to PPAs that changed funds based mostly on energy deliveries to lump sums based mostly on web energy potential and availability, to make sure larger dispatchability for essential hours of the day, Ravi Manghani, head of solar analysis for Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, famous.  

But “the Phase 2 RFP takes a more technically advanced approach toward resource planning,” Manghani acknowledged in a July GTM Squared article in July, quickly after HECO submitted its plan to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. 

A shift from solar-plus-storage to built-in grid planning 

First, there’s a standalone storage part, with HECO in search of about 200 megawatts on Oahu and 40 megawatts on Maui, to “provide capacity-like features to the respective island electric grids.” Under the plan submitted to the Hawaii PUC in July, this capability was fast-tracked for supply to make sure it’s in place earlier than the power vegetation shut. 

Second, it features a separate name for customer-based “grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity” for all three islands, in quantities starting from 4 megawatts on Hawaii to just about 120 megawatts on Oahu.

“This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernizing the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy,” Thursday’s press announcement famous. 

Most of these megawatts are within the type of multihour capability that may be served by conventional demand response, however HECO can be in search of a big share of ancillary companies that require split-second responsiveness from the hundreds or turbines concerned. HECO’s Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan, a long-running continuing meant to create markets to convey demand-side sources to bear as grid belongings, will information procurements on this monitor. 

Finally, Thursday’s RFP expands on the vary of companies that the “renewable dispatchable” technology, which can make up the majority of the procurement, can present. As set out within the RFP pointers, this technology will seemingly consist of solar PV, or maybe wind or one other cost-competitive renewable useful resource, mixed with 4-hour-duration batteries, to assist shift daytime peak solar manufacturing to cowl night peak buyer demand. 

But past that, HECO can be opening up the chance for builders to tackle a “contingency storage” job offering frequency response, so long as it’s a minimum of 5 megawatts and can function for half an hour. These are the identical traits shared by a whole bunch of megawatts’ price of batteries serving PJM’s frequency regulation market, and they’re meant to serve an identical position for HECO’s island grids. 

HECO, which serves some of probably the most PV-saturated neighborhoods within the nation, is already scuffling with voltage fluctuations, two-way power flows, and different distribution grid disruptions that decision for a rise in these sorts of frequency regulation companies. And these issues will solely worsen in a long time to come back, as Hawaii retires the massive spinning fossil-fuel-fired turbines that present inertia and stability to the grid. 

But solar farms could be operated in methods that may assist steadiness these grid frequency fluctuations, albeit not with out some marginal loss of energy output. First Solar and California grid operator CAISO confirmed in a sequence of pilot initiatives that solar farms can use their inverters to mitigate frequency and voltage disruptions. Dedicating a portion of on-site energy storage to frequency regulation may considerably enhance that functionality. 

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