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MidWeek Staff

Energy Park Now Generating Power

After four years of development and construction, the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park is now up and running, generating electricity for Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu.

The park launched last month, and the project development and finance team, including Hanwha Q CELLS USA, Hunt Companies, Scatec Solar North America and Swinerton Renewable Energy, gathered with HECO Dec. 16 for a commission ceremony and traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Located on a 20-acre property near Barbers Point Golf Course, the facility is comprised of 21,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels and is designed to reduce fossil fuel consumption. According to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the park will produce enough renewable power to prevent about 11,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year – that’s the equivalent of removing nearly 38,000 cars from the roads.

“Projects like the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park bring us closer to meeting our state’s energy goals while supporting workforce development for quality, green jobs. Public-private partnerships are key to expanding renewable energy initiatives with clear community benefits,” stated Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who attended the ceremony.

The facility will generate about 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power 1,000 homes.

Hanwha Q CELLS USA will operate the facility for 20 years. The project is financed by PNC Bank.

“Partnerships like this – with government and private industry working together – are critical to achieving Hawaii’s clean energy goals,” stated Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric’s vice president for energy resources and operations.

“We are proud to be a part of such an important project and are committed to reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels,” said Moon Hwan Cha, president of Hanwha Q CELLS USA. “We look forward to operating the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park for the next two decades, and supporting a clean and reliable energy future for the people of Hawaii.”

Plus, as HECO corporate communications official Peter Rosegg pointed out, renewable energy generation can help stabilize and lower customer bills over time.

“In Hawaii, utility-scale projects like the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park provide direct benefits to all ratepayers through clean and low cost energy,” said Luigi Resta, CEO of Scatec Solar North America. “More than ever, solar power is able to provide utilities an efficient and cost-effective way to both meet environmental goals and maintain a reliable power supply for consumers.”

HECO continues to explore its renewable energy options and is negotiating for several new utility-scale solar projects totalling 240 megawatts. It also is seeking Public Utilities Commission approval for a solar facility next to Kahe Power Plant.

“Hawaiian Electric is constantly seeking renewable energy projects to supply electricity for our customers at lower cost than the volatile price of oil-fired generation,” Rosegg noted.

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